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3 1833 01714 8617 





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Muhlenberg County 


Member of The Filson Club. Kentucky State Historical Society, 

American Historical Association, International 

Society of Archceologists, etc. 





Copyright, 1913, by Otto A. Rothert 







who by their resolute deeds and heroic lives 
made possible the achievements of a later day, 
this History of Our Own Times and of theirs is 




Preface xi-xiii 

Introduction xv-xvii 

1. General Muhlenberg 1-7 

Statue of General Muhlenberg, Philadelphia. 
Muhlenberg Delivering his Farewell Sermon. 

2. Some of the First-Comers 8-28 

A Survivor of "the Forest Primeval." 

The Site of Pond Station. 

Old Caney Station Graveyard. 

Mrs. Samuel Russell, 1845. 

Robert S. Russell, 1870. 

The "Cave Hut Cliff." 

The Jesse McPherson House. 

The Jonathan Hunt House. 

Zillman Wood, 1850. 

Graves of Judge and Mrs. Wm. Worthington. 

Kincheloe's Bluff. 

Pioneer Moses Wickliffe, 1817. 

Mr. and Mrs. William J. Dean, 1850. 

Mr. and Mrs. John Noffsinger, 1865. 

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Shaver, 1865. 

3. Henry Rhoads 29-35 

The Henry Rhoads House. 

Grave of the "Godfather of Muhlenberg County." 

Henry Rhoads (grandson of pioneer). Wife and Daughter, 1854. 

McHenry Rhoads, 1912. 

4. Beginning and Bounds of the County' 36-40 

Map of the original Logan County. 
Map of Muhlenberg County, 1798-1854. 
Map of Muhlenberg County, 1912. 

5. Courts and Courthouses 41-55 

Facsimile of Commission of County's First Justices, 1798. 

The Second Courthouse (erected 1836) and Clerk's Office. 

The Second Jail (erected 1864-65) and Jailer's Residence. 

John Edmunds Reno, 1895. 

William H. Yost, 1912. 

The Present Courthouse, erected 1907. 

Jail and Jailer's Residence, erected 1912. 

6. The Weirs 56-62 

Pioneer James Weir, about 1840. 
Mrs. Anna C. R. Weir, about 1825. 
Edward R. Weir, Sr., 1875. 
Mrs. Harriet R. Weir, 1900. 
E. R. Weir (Colonel), 1865. 
Max Weir, 1900. 

vi chapters and illustrations 

7. Muhlenberg ]\Ien in the War op 1812 63-75 

Larkin N. Akers, 1865. 

Mosley Collins Drake, about 1870. 

Ephraim M. Brank, about 1850. 

The Ephraim M. Brank House. 

Alney McLean, about 1820. 

The Isaac Davis House. 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Reynolds, 1867. 

8. Charles Fox Wing 76-80 

Charles Fox Wing, 1850. 

Mrs. Charles Fox Wing, about 1850. 

The Charles Fox Wing House, 1891. 

9. Edward Rumsey 81-83 

Edward Rumsey, about 1845. 

10. The Pond River Country 84-103 

The Michael Lovell Old Place, 1900. 

Michael Lovell, about 1865. 

The John Adair Allison Old Place, 1900. 

John Adair Allison, 1874. 

The Hutson Martin Old Place, 1900. 

Strother Jones, about 1845. 

Clark's Ferry Bridge. 

Harpe's "House," on Harpe's Hill. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Earle Oates, 1870. 

Mrs. Clara G. Stanley, 1855. 

The Hugh W. McNary House. 

Hugh W. McNary, 1871. 

The So-called Daniel Boone Rock. 

The "David Short Old Brick." 

Murphy's Lake. 

Pond River. 

11. Old Liberty Church 104-109 

A Sweep and Well and an Old Oaken Bucket. 

Old Liberty, 1900. 

Ruins of Old Liberty, 1912. 

Old Liberty Burying-ground, 1912. 

] 2. Life in the Olden Days 110-132 

A White Oak and a Yellow Poplar. 
Ground-sled or "Landslide." 
"Wolf Sculp" Certificate. 
Passenger or Wild Pigeons. 
"The Weir Corner." 
Some Old Chimneys. 
A Hog Harvest. 
Cooksey's Mill. 
Hazel Creek Church. 
Newman Graveyard. 

13. The Story op "Lonz Powers" 133-149 

James Weir, author, 1850. 

Residence of Pioneer James Weir. 

The Lonz Pennington House, 1912. 

Graves of Lonz Pennington and Wife, 1912. 

14. Greenville as Described in "Lonz Pov^^ers" 150-164 

Mrs. William H. Yost, Sr. (Mrs. Jonathan Short), 1864. 

Old Presbyterian Church, Greenville, erected about 1825. 

Charles Metzker, 1849. 

The Metzker House, 1895. 

The William A. Wickliffe Residence. 

The William G. Duncan Residence. 

Main Street, Greenville, 1912. 


15. The Old Militia Muster 165-175 

Facsimile of William Bradford's Commission as Captain, 1799. 
Ruins of the O. C. Vanlandingham, Sr., Residence. 
Ruins of the "Jim Taggart Old Place." 
The Mosley Collins Drake House. 

16. The Story of The Stack 176-190 

The Stack in 1905. 

Ruins of the Buckner Milk-house. 

Andirons made at The Stack in 1840. 

"The Stack House." 

Friendship Baptist Church. 

Aylette H. Buckner, 1824. 

Simon Bolivar Buckner, 1846, 1906. 

John Jenkins, 1857. 

The Buckner Cradle. 

Alfred Johnson, 1864. 

Alvin L. Taylor, 1912. 

17. Muhlenberg Men in the IMexican War 191-193 

Arthur N. Davis, 1870. 

18. Isaac Bard 194-207 

Isaac Bard, 1850. 
A White Oak Shade Tree. 
Mount Zion Presbyterian Church. 
Dr. Alfred M. Jackson, 1864. 

19. Post-Primary Education in Muhlenberg 208-219 

Teacher and Pupils, McClelland School, 1905. 

The Shaver or Philadelphia Schoolhouse. 

Residence of Henry C. Lewis (Presbyterial Academy Building), 1912. 

William L. Green, 1900. 

James K. Patterson, 1909. 

Greenville College, 1881. 

Edwin W. Hall, 1888. 

South Carrollton Public School Building. 

Central City Public School Building. 

Greenville Public School Building. 

Bremen Public School Building. 

Drakesboro Public School Building. 

20. Paradise Country and Old Airdrie 220-211 

Paradise and the Highway Thereto. 

O. C. Vanlandingham, Sr., about 1850. 

George W. Haden, 1895. 

The Airdrie Furnace, 1912. 

The Stone House, Airdrie. 

The Stone Steps, Airdrie. 

Alexander Hendrie, 1852. 

Mill Chimneys at Airdrie, 1900. 

Some of the Abandoned Houses, Airdrie, 1895. 

Ruins at Airdrie, 1900. 

The Old Hotel Building, Airdrie, 1895. 

Entrance to "McLean Old Bank," Airdrie. 

McLean Old Spring, Airdrie, 1900. 

General Don Carlos Buell, 1866. 

Buell's Private Park, Residence, and Boathouse, Airdrie, 1900. 

Buell's Residence, Airdrie, 1900. 

Ruins of Buell's Residence, Airdrie, 1912. 


21. Charles Eaves 242-249 

Charles EaA'es, 1884. 

Beech Tree, a "Philosopher of the Forest." 

The H. L. Kirkpatrick Residence, Greenville (former Eaves residence). 

22. ^Muhlenberg in the Civil War 250-284 

Benjamin J. Shaver, 1890. 

]\Iyers' Chapel and Grangers' Hall. 

John K. Wickliffe, 1860. 

Garst's Pond. 

Greenville and Rumsey Road. 

Breastworks, South Carrollton (1862), in 1912. 

Residence of John L. Taylor, South Carrollton. 

"Our House" or "Lovelace Tavern," South Carrollton. 

Bethlehem Baptist Church. 

"Alvin's Avenue." 

The Edward R. AVeir, Sr., Residence, Greenville. 

Sullivan's Barn. 

Soma Civil War Veterans, 1912. 

23. R. T. Martin's "Eecollections of the Civil War" 285-317 

Richard T. Martin, 1912. 

Mount Pisgah Church. 

The Old Prowse Bridge, 1911. 

Where the "Bogus Cavalry" was organized. 

The Thomas C. Summers Residence. 

S. D. Chatham, 1870. 

Public Road near Old Liberty. 

The. Greenville Hotel Building, 1912. 

Reno House, Greenville, 1897. 

24. Robert :\I. .^Iartin 318-325 

Robert M. Martin, 1866. 

The Muhlenberg County Poor Farm. 

25. Some of ^Ii-hlenberg's Civil War Soldiers 326-337 

John Coombs, Wife and Son, 1874. 

Japha N. Durall, 1861. 

Francis M. Finley, 1869. 

Thomas M. Finley, 1869. 

J. K. Freeman, 1864. 

S. P. Love, 1895. 

R. T. Vincent, about 1863. 

J. L. Wilkins, about 1863. 

William S. Grundy, about 1863. 

Henry C. McCracken, 1861. 

Isaac Miller, 1861. 

Joseph Mitchell, 1861. 

Joseph F. Richardson, 1861. 

J. L. Roark, 1863. 

M. J. Roark, 1863. 

W. C. Shannon, 1864. 

E. E. C. Shull, 1862. 

William H. Smith, 1862. 

John L. G. Thompson, 1861. 

R. W. Wallace, 1865. 

Joseph D. Yonts, 1864. 

chapters and illustrations ix 

26. Slavery Days 338-344 

"Uncle" John Gates, 1912. 
Slave Cabins. 

27. Local Writers and the Local Press ... .345-352 

Ruric N. Roark, 1906. 
Clarence B. Hayes, 1905. 
Muhlenberg's First Newspaper. 
Facsimile of Editorial Title. . 

In 1870 353-367 

Dr. Alexander McCown, 1870. 

House occupied in 1870 by M. C. Hay & Co. 

Old Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Greenville, about 1870. 

Old Brick Bank Building, 1890. 

Wiley S. Hay, about 1850. 

Finis McLean Allison, 1870. 

A Load of Saw-logs, 1894. 

The Jonathan Short Residence. 

Y. M. C. A. Building, Greenville. 

The Hugh Martin House. 

29. The Railroad Bonds 368-379 

Illinois Central Bridge over Green River, Rockport. 

Twin Tunnel, between Bellton and Penrod. 

Big Cut, near Midland. 

Facsimile of one of the original Railroad Bonds, 1869. 

Ben and Bob Wickliffe, about 1890. 

T. J. Sparks, 1912. 

Illinois Central Depot, Greenville. 

30. Tobacco 380-386 

Dabney A. Martin, 1855. 

C. Y. Martin & Co.'s Tobacco Rehandling House, Greenville. 

Thomas L. Martin, 1856. 

A Cropper's Log Cabin, 1912. 

Old-time Log Tobacco Barn, 1912. 

A Tobacco Field. 

3L Coal Mines and Iron Ore 387-403 

Mud River, near Mud River Mine. 

The Dr. Roberts House. 

Tipple and Power House, Central Mine, Central City. 

Power House and Double Tipple, Graham-Skibo Mine, Graham. 

Tipple and Power House, Black Diamond Mine, Drakesboro. 

Power House and Steel Tipple, Kentucky-Midland Mine, Midland. 

William G. Duncan, 1912. 

James W. Lam, 1912. 

William A. Wickliffe, 1912. 

x chapters and illustrations 

32. Collins on Muhlenberg, Quoted and Extended 404-431 

Road from Boat Landing to South Carrollton. 

Dr. J. T. Woodburn, 1912. 

Methodist Episcopal Church, Central City. 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Central City. 

Central City's First Post-olRce. 

Broad Street, Central City, 1912. 

H. D. Rothrock, 1870. 

Black Lake and Cypress Trees. 

Main Street, Drakesboro, 1912. 

Dr. A. D. James, 1905. 

A Collection of Indian Relics. 

A Prehistoric Mound. 

Site of a Prehistoric Mound. 

R. Y. Thomas, 1912. 


A. Judge Hall 's Story of the Harpes 435-441 

B. Journal by James Weir, 1803 443-448 

C. Two Local Stories by Edward R. Weir, Sr 449-453 

D. Duvall's Discovery op "Silver Ore," by R. T. Martin 455-459 

E. "Riding the Circuit," by Lucius P. Little 461-465 

Index 467-496 


THE gathering and compiling of the traditions and history of Muh- 
lenberg County has occupied much of my time for some years. 
These pages have been written solely because of the pleasure and 
interest I have taken in the work, and are here presented in book 
form that they may be read not only by those who are now interested in the 
subject, but that they may be preserved also for future generations. I 
found Muhlenberg's kistory a very fascinating subject. All Muhlen- 
bergers, with few exceptions, are interested in the history and traditions of 
the county, but I dare say the subject appealed to me, a newcomer, more 
than it would to most of the men and women who were born and reared in 
the county. To them it had become somewhat familiar and commonplace, 
while to me it is new and filled with the picturesque. I am, in a sense, a 
stranger in Muhlenberg. My first trip to the county was made in the fall of 
!1902, for the purpose of looking after some land my father had bought 
there a few years before. During that first trip I saw comparatively noth- 
ing of Greenville, but passed my time in the country, occupying my leisure 
hours witli hunting, and listening at night to the traditions and reminis- 
cences of old residents. Out of these began to develop a strong desire to 
call up the stories that w^ould begin with "I've often heard my grandfather 
say that when he was a boy," etc. I was in the presence, it seemed to me, of 
pioneers themselves, once or twice removed. Their very words were coming 
to me through the lips of those that had picked them up from now-silent 
voices, and who had cherished them tlirough the long years. 

One night in the fall of 1905 a number of us were sitting near the old 
Stack of the long-abandoned Buckner Furnace — in the upper Pond Creek 
country, in the neighborhood to which my annual visits up to that time had 
been confined — when the vague traditions of that old landmark again be- 
came the subject of discussion. All agreed it was unfortunate that the 
Story of The Stack had never been written. Alvin L. Taylor, my host, sug- 
gested that since the object of my hunting was apparently drifting from 
' ' digging out foxes to digging up facts, ' ' I spend the remaining half of my 
visit in gathering the traditions of The Stack. The novelty of the sugges- 
tion appealed to me at once. The next day I began a systematic investiga- 
tion of the subject. In the course of two weeks I spent a day or more with 
every "oldest citizen" in the neighborhood, and from them and some of 
their children and grandchildren I gathered the materials from which was 
written the first version of "The Story of The Stack." This was published 
in the Greenville Record in the spring of 1906. 

In the fall of 1906. shortly after returning to Muhlenberg, I found that 
there still lingered a longing to hear the horn of the hunter and the 


trailing of the liounds, for one night the "call of the wild" led me three 
miles from the Biickner Stack to the Russell Old Field. There, while listen- 
ing to the musical bark of the running dogs, I began an investigation of the 
traditions of the Russell Race Track and ]\Iuster Field. A few weeks later 
tlifc results were published in the Greenville Record. And so, fall after fall, 
I drifted into new fields in the southern part of the county, and submitted 
various sketches to the local press. In 1930 the pleasure had become a pre- 
occupation of deep interest, and I decided to compile a histor}' of the county 
and publish it in book form. That fall and the two following I laid aside 
gun and lantern, took camera and note-book, and spent a total of about six 
months making pilgrimages, through rain and shine, to every place in the 
county where there might be gathered facts worth preserving in a printed 
liistory. On returning to Louisville I began arranging my notes, and took 
up the laborious but absorbing task of searching through books for any 
I\ruhlen])erg history they might contain. The results of these years of 
earnest eifort to produce a volume that would be worthy the memory of the 
valiant and resolute men and women who settled and established Muhlen- 
berg County are contained in this completed book. While it is submitted 
with proper diffidence as to my ability to do the subject full justice, it is 
nevertheless presented as an honest effort in which no difficulty has been 
evaded or shunned. 

This volume pertains principally to the history of the county from its 
beginning down to 1875, but is extended more or less brieflj^ in some prac- 
tical aspects from 1875 to the present day. ]\[ueh remains for a later his- 
torian to write about the wonderful advancements iMuhlenberg has made 
during the past twenty years. The events of general interest during the 
past quarter of a century are not only fresh in the memory of many of the 
men and women of to-day, but are likely to be remembered or handed down 
until a history is written covering that period, whereas much of the mate- 
rial I am here trying to preserve would otherwise, in all probability, soon 
pass away with the many other local traditions and unrecorded facts that 
have already disappeared and are forgotten. 

The records of the county and circuit courts from the beginning have 
been preserved in the courthouse at Greenville, and in all probability will 
always be preserved. I have, therefore, made no attempt to write a liistory 
based principally on these ever-available records, but have confined ray work 
as much as possible to collecting the now vanishing traditions and to present- 
ing the less available material. Much of this heretofore unpublished as well 
as published material is woven into this volume. I found in printed books 
comparatively little that bore on Muhlenberg's past. Practically all I found 
in print I quote, and thus give the reader an opportunity to read the 
statements in the language in which they were originally recorded, pre- 
ferring this to expressing the facts in my own words. 

Of the more than two hundred illustrations here presented, compara- 
tively few are of modern buildings or of active men and women of to-day. 
Most of the pictures are of some of the old citizens, the old houses, and the 
old landmarks. ]\Iore than one fourth are copies of pictures made between 
1817 and 1872. All except those taken in 1911 and 1912, which comprise 


about one half, are dated. It is a well-known fact that the portraits and 
biographies that appear in many county histories are published in consider- 
ation of a stipulated price, and it may therefore not be amiss to state that 
this absolutely has not been done in this book. 

I have, either in the text or in some of the foot-notes, given the names of 
the children of a number of pioneers, and have thus laid a foundation 
for those of their descendants who may desire to compile a family tree. I 
made no attempt, except in a few cases, to procure the names occurring in 
the third and succeeding generations. I feel that the lists of names for the 
second generation are in most instances complete, for only such of the many 
lists as I have been able to verify, to a greater or less extent, are printed in 
this volume. Very few of these lists were copied from written records ; most 
of them were compiled for me within the past few years by men and women 
who depended on their memory, family traditions, and tombstones upon the 
graves of their ancestors for their data. Any one who has given his family 
tree even comparatively little thought will realize the difficulty of preparing 
an accurate list from such sources, if he but attempt to recall and record 
the names of the brothers and sisters of any of his four grandparents, and 
he will also realize that omissions and other errors are likely to occur in any 
first-published list. 

Many of the local traditions woven into the various chapters of this his- 
tory are seldom heard beyond the immediate neighborhood to wiiich they 
belong, while some of the other local stories and incidents are familiar to 
practically every JMuhlenberger. A few of the traditions have almost as 
many versions as they are years old. Where various versions are in cir- 
culation I have accepted the one that, in my opinion, seemed the most 

I here express my thanks to Mr. Richard T. Martin, of Greenville, and to 
the many other Muhlenbergers whose aid and encouragement in gathering 
data have made the writing of this history of JMuhlenberg County not only a 
possibility but a pleasant occupation; also to Mr. George E. Cross, of Louis- 
ville, for copying old oil paintings, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, 
and photographs, and for preparing many photographic views for reproduc- 
tion ; to Mrs. Jennie C. Morton, of Frankfort ; to Judge Lucius P. Little, of 
Owensboro, and Doctor Samuel A. Braun, of Louisville, for material bear- 
ing on the subject; to Colonel Reuben T. Durrett, of Louisville, for many 
suggestions and for the use of his large library on Kentucky history; and 
last, but by no means least, to Mr. Young E, Allison, of Louisville, for sug- 
gestions growing out of his experience as an editor in preparing matter for 
the press. 

Otto A. Rothert. 

Louisville, Kentucky, March 15, 1913. 


BEFORE taking up the history and traditions of jMuhlenberg County 
it may be well to recall a few dates pertaining to the beginning of 
the nation, and also to review some of Kentucky's history to the 
time of the organization of ^.luhlenberg County in 1798. 

The Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia on July 
4, 1776. The first battle in the American Revolution was fought at Lexing- 
ton, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, and the surrender of Cornwallis took 
place at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19, 1781. Washington was Presi- 
dent of the United States from April 30, 1789, to IMarch 4, 1797, and John 
Adams from 1797 to March 4, 1801. 

Doctor Thomas Walker, in 1750, passed through Cumberland Gap, and 
was probably the first white man to wander within the present borders of 
Kentucky. In 1751 Colonel Christopher Gist traveled over the eastern part 
of the State. In 1769 Daniel Boone made his first trip to the Dark and 
Bloody Ground. The ''Long Hunters" started on their expedition in 1770. 
Simon Kenton began his explorations in 177L In 1775 the Transylvania 
Company appeared on the scene with Daniel Boone as their chief guide and 
pathfinder, and opened up land offices and attempted to form a proprietary 
colony or government in the territory lying between the Kentucky and 
Tennessee rivers, which territory they had purchased from the Cherokee In- 
dians, who claimed to have the right to dispose of it. 

At Harrodstown, afterward Ilarrodsburg, the first permanent white set- 
tlement was begun in 1774. The first fort was built at Boonesboro in 1775 
and a town started. Louisville, although partly laid out on paper by Cap- 
tain Thomas Bullitt as early as 1773, was not settled until 1778, when 
George Rogers Clark and other pioneers built a few houses on Corn Island, 
opposite the site of the present city — an island in the rushing waters of the 
Ohio which has long since disappeared. As time rolled by many other 
settlements were made. 

In 1778 George Rogers Clark traveled down the Ohio, landed at Fort 
Massac, opposite the mouth of the Cumberland, and thence began his cele- 
brated and eventful march to Kaskaskia and A^incennes. In 1780 he went 
down the same river, built Fort Jefferson at Iron Banks, on the present 
Kentucky shore of the Mississippi, five miles below the mouth of the Ohio, 
within the Chickasaw country. After Clark had erected this fort he pro- 
ceeded with two men on foot to Ilarrodsburg. They crossed the Tennessee 
River, met a few hunters and trappers (Butler's History of Kentucky, 
page 115), and then continued their tramp through the territory which 
later became the original Logan County. (Smith's History of Kentucky, 
page 174.) The hunters they then met were probably some of the "Long 
Hunters" who entered Western Kentucky about 1771, or other pioneers 
who followed a few years later. The account of Clark's trip is probably the 


earliest authentic record regarding the first white people who saw that sec- 
tion of the State of which IMnhlenberg now forms part. 

In 1783 Transylvania Seminary, the first scliool for higher education in 
the West, was founded in Danville, and six years later was removed to Lex- 
ington; in 1798 it received the name of Transylvania University. 

In 1784 John Filsou wrote the first jiistoiy of Kentucky. On his "Jlap 
of Kentueke" Filson gives the names and general course of all the rivers 
and many of the creeks in the District, and shows about twenty roads, a 
number of springs and licks, and locates about fifty of the settlements and 
mills and the eight towns then in existence. In his history Filson says, on 
page 11: "There are at present eight towns laid off, and building: and 
more are proposed. Louisville, at the Falls of Ohio, and Beardstown, are 
in Jefferson county; Ilarrodsburg, Danville and Boons-burrow, in Lincoln 
county; Lexington, Lees-town, and Greenville, in Fayette county; the two 
last being on Kentueke river. ' ' Tlie Greenville and Leestown here referred 
to were located a short distance below where Frankfort now stands. This 
Greenville passed out of existence before the close of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury, before the beginning of Greenville in Muhlenberg County ; Leestown 
was abandoned during the early part of the Nineteenth Century. 

After ten years of debating and delaying Kentucky was finally admitted 
into the Union on June 1, 1792, and became the fifteenth State of tlie new 
confederation. Vermont was the fourteenth, and Tennessee, in 1796, 
became the sixteenth. The administration of Isaac Shelb.y, the Gov- 
ernor of Kentucky, extended from June 4. 1792, to January 1, 1796, and the 
two terms of Governor James Garrard from 1796 to 1804. During tlie clos- 
ing years of the Eighteenth Century the political doctrine of Nullification, 
as embodied in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, was warmly 
debated throughout the Union. 

Up to about the year 1800 many of the pioneers experienced much 
trouble with the hostile Indians, but after that date no massacres or battles 
of any great consequence took place in the State, for by that time most of 
the Indians had been killed or driven out of the Dark and Bloody Ground. 
The homeseekers from the old colonies emigrated into Kentucky in larger 
numbers during the last fifteen j'ears of the Eighteenth Century and began 
many permanent settlements. Local traditions and records show that 
among these newcomers were some German-Virginians who, as early as 1784 
or before, located in the country a part of which later became the northern 
section of Sluhlenberg County. These German-Virginians were soon fol- 
lowed by other Virginians, some of whom, after building temporary homes 
at Caney Station about the year 1795, started the town of Greenville in the 
spring of 1799. Many of the earliest settlers in the southern part of the 
county came from North Carolina during the last years of the Eighteenth 
and the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century. 

The great increase in population throughout Kentucky resulted in 
the creating of many new counties out of parts of the older ones. Kentucky 
was originally a part of Fincastle County, Virginia. In 1776 Fincastle was 
divided and the County of Kentucky was established. The ne-w county em- 
braced all that is now included in the State. In 1780 the County of Ken- 


tiieky was divided into Jefferson, Faj'ette, and Lincoln counties. Jefferson 
included tlie country between Kentucky and Green rivers; Fayette the land 
nortli of Kentuck}' River, and Lincoln the remaining territory. In 1784 all 
of Jefferson County south of Salt River became Nelson County. In 1785 
Bourbon County was formed from part of Fayette, and during the same 
year Mercer and iladison counties sprang from parts of Lincoln. In 1788 
]\I;!Son County was formed from part of Bourbon and Woodford County 
from part of Fayette, making up to that date a total of nine counties in the 
District of Kentucky. 

In 1792, the j'ear Kentucky was admitted into the Union, seven new 
counties were established, among them being Logan, which was formed from 
part of Lincoln. Logan was the thirteenth county organized in the State. 
It was then the most westerly county, and embraced practically all that part 
of Kentuekj' lying west of Green and Barren rivers. During the next two 
years three more counties were laid off in various parts of the State. In 
1796 six new ones were started, including Christian, which was formed from 
part of Logan. In 1798 thirteen more sprang into existence, among them 
being JIuhlenberg, the thirty-fourth, which was formed from parts of Chris- 
tian and Logan. • In the course of years many others were formed from 
Logan County or its former territory. By 1860 the original Logan County 
was divided into twenty-nine counties. The State of Kentucky now con- 
tains one liundred and twentj' counties. 

The seven counties bordering on Muhlenberg were organized as fol- 
lows: Logan in 1792; Christian in 1796; Ohio in 1798; Hopkins in 1806; 
Butler in 1810; Todd in 1819; McLean in 1854. Of these. Christian. Hop- 
kins, and Butler counties were named after officers of the Revolutionary 
army; JIuhlenberg was also so named, in honor of General John Peter 
Gabriel iluhlenberg, one of Washington's brigadier-generals. 



Muhlenberg County 



UHLENBERG COUNTY was so called in honor of General John 
Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, an officer of high distinction and 
patriotism in the American Revolution/ 

General Muhlenberg made two trips to Kentucky in 1784, but 
did not see any part of that section which fourteen years later was formed 
into a county and named after him. It is more than probable that he did 
not visit any section of the Green River country. His life, however, is part 
of the history of Muhlenberg County, not only because the county is a name- 
sake of his but also because many of its pioneers fought under him in the 
Revolution. General Muhlenberg's career is woven into the history of the 
Revolution and into the history of the nation during the first quarter of a 
century following that struggle. A volume entitled "The Life of Major- 
General Peter Muhlenberg, of the Revolutionary Army," was published in 
1849 by Henry A. Muhlenberg, a nephew of the distinguished soldier. Prom 
this work I gather the following facts. 

Reverend Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, the father of General Muhlen- 
berg, emigrated to Pennsylvania from Hanover, Germany, in 1742. He 
founded the Lutheran Church in America, and died at Trappe, near Phila- 
delphia, on October 1, 1787. His son, J. Peter G. Muhlenberg, was born at 
Trappe, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 1746. At the age of sixteen Peter was 
sent to Halle, Germany, to be educated. While in Europe he incidentally 
gained a little knowledge of military drills that was, in later life, of great 
advantage to him. In 1767 he returned to America and became a minister 
in the Lutheran Church, serving as a pastor to various congregations. 

Previous to the Revolution there was a union of Church and State in 
Virginia, where the Church of England was established by law; "and in 

^The pronunciation of the name of the county doubtless gave rise to the dif- 
ference among early historians as to the correct spelling. Lewis Collins (1847) 
followed the pronunciation, and spells the name uniformly Muhlenburg; Richard 
H. Collins (1874) corrects the error when referring to the man but not when 
referring to the county, and this error has been repeated in his various editions. 
The name is also occasionally misspelled in some of the early maps and county 
records, but never in those of a later day. The proper spelling of the name is as 
here given. 


order that the rector could enforce the payment of tithes, it was necessary 
that he should have been ordained by a Bishop of the English Church, in 
which case he came under the provision of the law, although not a member 
of the established church." To meet these difficulties Muhlenberg decided 
to be ordained in the official church. In 1772 he went to England, where 
he was "ordained by a Bishop of the English Church," and then returned 
to Virginia and preached at Woodstock until the Revolutionary War broke 
out. In the early part of 1776 he organized a regiment of soldiers, the 
Eighth Virginia, known as the "German Regiment." He participated in 
the tights at Charleston and ."Sullivan's Island. On February 21, 1777, he 
was made brigadier-general and took charge of the Virginia line under 
Washington, and was in chief command in Virginia in 1781 until the arrival 
of Baron Von Steuben. He was in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, 
and Monmouth, and was also at the capture of Stony Point. He was second 
in command to LaFayette in resisting the invasion of the State by Corn- 
wallis. He took part in the siege of Yorktown, and was present when Corn- 
wallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. On September 30, 1783, he was 
promoted to the rank of major-general. A few months later the army was 
formally disbanded, and he returned to his family in Woodstock. In No- 
vember he moved to Trappe and shortly afterward made Philadelphia his 

In 1784 he made two trips to the Falls of the Ohio, to superintend the 
distribution of lands in Kentucky granted to himself and other officers and 
soldiers of the Virginia arm}'. His diary kept on these trips shows that he 
did not go down the Ohio below Louisville. In the fall of 1785 General 
Muhlenberg was elected Vice-President of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Frank- 
lin being at the same time chosen President. He was reelected to that office 
everj^ year until 1788, when he was chosen one of the members of the First 
Congress, to serve from March 4, 1789, to IMarch 4, 1791. He also served in 
the Third Congress and in the Fourth Congress. His brother, Frederick 
Augustus, served as Speaker of the First Congress assembled under the 
Constitution. In February, 1801, General Muhlenberg was elected United 
States Senator from Pennsylvania. On the 30th of June, 1801, having been 
appointed Supervisor of Internal Revenue for Pennsylvania, he resigned his 
seat in the Senate. In July, 1802, he was appointed Collector of the Port of 
Philadelphia, which office he held up to the time of his death, October 1, 
1807. He is buried at Trappe, Pennsylvania, where rest also the remains of 
his father. 

His biographer, commenting on the career of General Muhlenberg, says : 

He was one of those characters which in a revolution always find their 
level. He was by nature a soldier. . . . He entered the church, doubtless, 
^\^th as sincere and honest purposes as any of her ministry, but the agony of 
his country called him from the altar with a voice that touched every chord 
of his soul. The time for fighting had come — the time to try men's souls. 
His whole heart was with his country ; rebellion against tyrants was obe- 
dience to God, and so feeling and so thinking, he went forth from the tem- 
ple to the field. He was brave and generous to a fault, a proper brigadier 
to Greene, ^7(0 loved him. Cool in danger, sound in judgment, indifferent 


to fame, zealous in duty : these were his distinguishing traits as a soldier. 
His virtues in private and political life were all cognate to these. 

Such, in brief, was the career of General Muhlenberg. ]Many interesting 
incidents occurred during his life, the details of a number of which are re- 

Copyright, 1911, by J. Otto Schweizer 

■corded in his biography. Among them is the dramatic event that took place 
at Woodstock, Virginia, in the early days of '"76." Times, as Muhlen- 
berg was wont to remark, had been "troublesome," and the colonies were 
preparing to declare and fight for their independence. Muhlenberg was ap- 


pointed colonel of the Eighth Regiment, which was then far from fully or- 
ganized. His acceptance of this office necessitated his resignation as pastor 
of his churches. The scene that took place when this "fighting parson" de- 
livered his farewell sermon is thus described by his biographer: 

Upon his arrival at Woodstock, his different congregations, widely scat- 
tered along the frontier, were notified that upon the following Sabbath their 
beloved pastor would deliver his farewell sermon. Of this event numerous 
traditionary accounts are still preserved in the vicinity in which it took 
place, all coinciding with the written evidence. The fact itself merits a 
prominent place in this sketch, for in addition to the light it sheds upon the 
feelings which actuated the American people in the commencement of the 
Revolutionary struggle, it also shows with what deep earnestness of purpose 
Mr. Muhlenberg entered upon his new career. 

The appointed day came. The rude country church was filled to over- 
flowing with the hardy mountaineers of the frontier counties, among whom 
were collected one or more of the independent companies to which the fore- 
thought of the Convention had given birth. So great was the assemblage, 
that the quiet burial-place was filled with crow^ds of stern, excited men, who 
had gathered together, believing that something, they knew not what, would 
be done in behalf of their suffering country. We may well imagine that the 
feelings which actuated the assembly were of no ordinary kind. The dis- 
turbances of the country, the gatherings of armed men, the universal feel- 
ing that liberty or slavery for themselves and their children hung upon the 
decision the colonies then made, and the decided step taken by their pastor, 
all aroused the patriotic enthusiasm of the vast multitude, and rendered it 
a magazine of fiery passion, which needed but a spark to burst into an all- 
consuming flame. 

In this spirit the people awaited the arrival of him whom they were now 
to hear for the last time. He came, and ascended the pulpit, his tall form 
arrayed in full uniform, over which his gown, the symbol of his holy calling, 
was thrown. He Avas a plain, straightforward speaker, whose native elo- 
quence was well suited to the people among whom he laboured. At all times 
capable of commanding the deepest attention, we may well conceive that 
upon this great occasion, when high, stern thoughts were burning for utter- 
ance, the people who heard him hung upon his fiery words with all the inten- 
sity of their souls. Of the matter of the sermon various accounts remain. 
All concur, however, in attributing to it great potency in arousing the mili- 
tary ardour of the people, and unite in describing its conclusion. After re- 
capitulating, in words that aroused the coldest, the story of their sufferings 
and their wrongs, and telling them of the sacred character of the struggle in 
which he had unsheathed his sword, and for which he had left the altar he 
had vowed to serve, he said "that, in the language of Holy Writ, there was 
a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but these times 
had passed away"; and in a voice that reechoed through the church like a 
trumpet-blast, "that there was a time to fight, and that time had now 

The sermon finished, he pronounced the benediction. A breathless still- 
ness brooded over the congregation. Deliberately putting off the gown, 
which had thus far covered his martial figure, he stood before them a girded 
warrior ; and descending from the pulpit, ordered the drums at the church- 
door to beat for recruits. Then followed a scene to which even the Ameri- 
can Revolution, rich as it is in bright examples of the patriotic devotion of 


the people, affords no parallel. His audience, excited in the highest degree 
by the impassioned words which had fallen from his lips, flocked around 
him, eager to be ranked among his followers. Old men were seen bringing 
forward their children, wives their husbands, and widowed mothers their 
sons, sending them under his paternal care to fight the battles of their coun- 
try. It must have been a noble sight, and the cause thus supported could 
not fail. 

Nearly three liundred men of the frontier churches that day enlisted un- 
der his banner ; and the gown then thrown off was worn for the last time. 
Henceforth his footsteps were destined for a new career. 


Representing Muhlenberg in the act of delivering his farewell sermon, 
Woodstock, Virginia, in January, 1776 

Copyright, 1911, by J. Otto Scliwoizer 

This event occurred about the middle of January, 1776 ; and from that 
time until March, Colonel IMuhlenberg seems to have been busily engaged in 
recruiting. After the great impulse already received, it is natural to sup- 
pose that his success was rapid ; and such accordingly we find to be the fact. 
It was probably the first of the Virginia regiments ready for service, its 
ranks being full early in March. By the middle of that month he had 
already reported this fact to the Governor, and received orders to proceed 
with his command to Suffolk. On the 21st the regiment commenced its 
march for that place. 


A little less than a half century after the death of General Muhlenberg, 
and about five years after his biography was written, a poem, based on the 
incident that took place at the church in Woodstock, was published by 
Thomas Buchanan Read. This poem, "The Rising," is printed in McGuf- 
fey's old Fifth Reader, where most of us have read it, and from which I 
quote a few lines :" 

Out of the North the wild news came . . . 
And swelled the discord of the hour. . . . 

The pastor rose; the prayer was strong; 
The psalm was warrior David's song; 
The text, a few short words of might — 
"The Lord of hosts shall arm the right !" . . . 

When suddenly his mantle wide 
His hands impatient flung aside, 
And lo ! he met their wondering eyes 
Complete in all a warrior's guise. . . . 

The enlisting trumpet's sudden roar 
Rang through the chapel, o'er and o'er, . . . 
And there the startling drum and fife 
Fired the living with fiercer life. ... 

"Who dares" — this was the patriot's cry. 
As striding from the desk he came — 
"Come out with me, in Freedom's name. 
For her to live, for her to die ? ' ' 
A hundred hands flung up reply, 
A hundred voices answered "I!" 

General ^luhlenberg was less than forty years of age when he left Vir- 
ginia and returned to Pennsylvania, where he spent the last twenty-two 
3^ears of his life in the upbuilding of his native State and the new nation. 
Pennsylvania has expressed her appreciation of his great work by placing a 
statue of him in Statuary Hall, Washington, D. C. His memorial stands in 
the southeast corner of the Hall, and although a graceful piece of work, the 
sculptor, Blanche Nevin, evidently was not familiar with the stature and 
physiognomy of her subject. I\Iuhlenberg's biographer and other writers 

^ This and other incidents in the life of General Muhlenberg are the subjects 
of a number of poems Vv^ritten in German by German-Americans. Among them are 
the following, which are published in the records of the German Society of Penn- 
sylvania, and for copies of which I am indebted to Mr. C. F. Huch, of Philadelphia, 
the custodian of the archives of that organization: "Peter Muhlenberg" and "Gen- 
eral Peter," by Joseph Zentmayer; "Muhlenberg," by F. Moras; "Peter Muhlen- 
berg," by Philip Hainibach, and "The Farewell Sermon," by William Miller. 
Mr. Huch also informs me that General Muhlenberg is the subject of two dramas 
that were written in German and are occasionally produced by German dramatic 
companies: "Peter Muhlenberg, or Bible and Sword," in five acts, by Frederich H. 
Ernst, of New York, and "Cowl and Sword, or General Muhlenberg," by Victor 


describe him as "tall in person," which statement is verified not only by 
paintings now extant but also by tradition. Nevertheless the sculptor rep- 
resents Muhlenberg's height as not much more than five feet. His face, in 
this marble statue, looks more like that of a poet or musician, and not like 
that of a preacher and still less like that of a soldier. On the base 
of the statue is carved the name muhlenberg ; the pedestal is marked 


In October, 1910, the German Society of Pennsylvania erected a statue 
to General Muhlenberg in Philadelphia on the City Hall Plaza. It is a good 
likeness and a masterly piece of work by J. Otto Schweizer, of Philadelphia, 
one of the foremost sculptors in America. A portrait of this statue is here 
reproduced. Everj^ detail of this fine work of art is true to its subject 
and is based on paintings and descriptions still preserved. 

The relief on the face of the pedestal of this statue is by the same artist, 
and is probably the best work of that character in the country. The eleva- 
tions are so delicately balanced that the depth of the church with all pews 
and people comes within a thickness or height of only an inch and a half. 
The scene represents Muhlenberg in the act of finishing his farewell sermon. 
The church depicted is the old one in Trappe, near Philadelphia, which has 
been preserved unchanged since the middle of the Eighteenth Century, and 
is the same in which General Muhlenberg and his father often preached. 

In the Pennsylvania Capitol a large painting was recently finished by 
Edwin A. Abbey, symbolizing the "Apotheosis of Pennsylvania." Among 
the celebrities who appear in this large picture is General Muhlenberg. 

Such, as I here give it, is a glimpse of the life of the man after vv'hom 
JMuhlenberg County is named, and also a glimpse of the esteem in which he 
was and still is held. As already stated. General Muhlenberg probably 
never visited any part of the county that now helps perpetuate his name, 
nor even saw any part of the Green River country. Nevertheless, pioneer 
Henry Rhoads, in 1798, very fittingly procured for the entitlement of the 
county the name of the man who was a friend, pastor, and general to many 
of its earliest settlers,. 



STATISTICS show that from the close of the Revolution to 1786 about 
2,500 newcomers settled in Kentucky every year. After 1786 the 
army of emigrants gradually grew larger until 1795, when the in- 
flow increased to about 25,000 annually and continued at that rate 
for a number of years. In 1790 the population of Kentucky was 73,677. 
By 1800 it sprang to 222,955. It was during this big inflow of the last 
years of the Eighteenth Century that many of the homeseekers drifted into 
the Green River country and became its first permanent settlers. 

Under the heads of the various counties bordering on Muhlenberg I 
gather, from Collins' History of Kentucky, the data here given relative to 
their first settlements. About a half-dozen stations were established be- 
tween 1780 and 1784 in what is now Logan County. Among them was one 
that, later, became Russellville. In Ohio County the first settlements were 
Hartford and Barnett's Station, both of which w^ere settled "before 1790." 
As early as 1794 a trading-post had been established at Berry's Lick, in 
Butler County. "Hopkinsville was laid out in 1799." The beginning of 
Madisonville, Morgantown, and Elkton dates back to the first years of the 
Nineteenth Century. Under the head of McLean County, Collins says: 
"The first fort or station was built, where Calhoon now stands, in 1788, by 
Solomon Rhoads, and called Vienna. In 1790 James Inman built Pond sta- 
tion, a few miles southeast of Calhoon. ' ' That Caney Station was what 
might be regarded as the first settlement in what is now Muhlenberg County 
is only parenthetically stated by Collins, and without the date of its begin- 
ning, which tradition says was about 1795 : ' ' One mile north of Greenville, 
near old Caney Station — which was the first settlement in the county — are 
several mounds." 

From the foregoing statements it will be seen that a few settlements 
were made in this part of the State as early as 1780, and that most of the 
places which became permanent settlements were begun during the last few 
years of the Eighteenth or the first of the Nineteenth Century. 

Tradition does not say who were the first white people to come into what 
is now Muhlenberg County. It is, however, probable that the first men who 
made this locality their home were Revolutionary soldiers who wandered 
westward immediately after that war. Tradition goes no further back than 
about 1784, to which time a few of the families in the county can trace the 
arrival of their ancestors. 

After Pond Station had been started and after Henry Rhoads began 
inducing more German-Americans to locate near that station and in other 


sections of the country, and while Caney Station was being built by Virgin- 
ians, the inflow of newcomers began to increase rapidly. A number of pio- 
neers from North Carolina and Virginia settled along Pond River. John 
Dennis and a few other North Carolinians, some of whom probably came as 
early as 1785, settled in the Pond Creek country. Kincheloe's Bluff or 
Lewisburg, on Green River, was settled and made a ''port of entry" before 
the close of the Eighteenth Century. It was there that Thomas Irvin and 
his party of stone-cutters landed about 1797 and helped open up the Nelson 
Creek country. Stum's Landing, now Paradise, was also a well-known 
river point as early as 1798. It was during this period of the country's his- 


% I 


*>V^fe.-^"= .V "'^i: 

Upper Pond Creek Country 

tory that the outlaw, Big Harpe, was killed near what has ever since been 
known as Harpe 's Hill. 

Jesse McPherson was one of the earliest settlers in the Cliffy Creek 
country. John Hunt and James Wood were among the influential first- 
comers in the Mud River country. Among the first to settle in the Long 
Creek country were the Drake, Duke, Welborn, and Wells families. 

A number of the pioneers, as already stated, were Revolutionary sol- 
diers, but more of them were sons of such veterans. The names of the Revo- 
lutionary soldiers living in the United States in 1840 were compiled for the 
census of that year. Collins gives the seven reported from Muhlenberg 
County: John Bone, Joshua Elkins, Sihez Garriz, Andrew Glenn, William 


Hopkins, Benjamin Neal, and Britain Willis, The average age of these 
seven in 1840 was eighty years. They must therefore have been about 
twenty-one years old at the close of the war. Life insurance statistics show 
that about 18 per cent of men who reach the age of forty are likely to reach 
the age of eighty. At this rate, if seven Revolutionary soldiers aged eighty 
were still aliv^ in 1840, they represent what were thirty-eight men, aged 
forty, in 1800. We may thus assume that there were thirty-eight Revolu- 
tionary soldiers in IMuhlenberg in 1800, who at the close of that war were 
twenty-one years of age. 

On the supposition that the number of older soldiers who came here after 
the Revolution and who died before 1800 is equal to the number of younger 
soldiers who were still alive in 1800 and represented by thirty-eight men, we 
may infer that about seventy-six Revolutionary soldiers were among the 
first settlers of Muhlenberg. If we assume that each soldier was the father 
of five children, then there were 380 sons and daughters of Revolutionary 
soldiers in the county in 1800. These children (380) with their parents 
(twice 76) make a total of 532. According to Collins, the population of 
Muhlenberg in 1800 was 1,443. That being the fact, we may infer that about 
5 per cent of the pioneers who settled in Muhlenberg in the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury saw service in the Revolutionary War, and furthermore, that about 
one fourth of the pioneers were children of such soldiers. 

Although these figures, based partially on statistics, may be wrong, and 
these conclusions be far from representing the actual but unrecorded facts, 
these estimates nevertheless are more likely to be nearer correct than any 
based on mere supposition or a groundless guess. 

The first of the early settlers of whom we have any tradition or history 
were Henry Rhoads and his brothers, who settled Rhoadsville, whicli later 
became Calhoun. Of the original party who began this station only a few 
remained permanently in the immediate neighborhood. Henry Rhoads was 
probably the first to leave it. After living a few years near what later be- 
came Hartford, Ohio County, he settled in the neighborhood of what is now 
Browder, Muhlenberg County. In 1790 James Tnman left Rhoadsville and 
moved five miles south, where he built Pond Station in the territory which, 
in 1798, became a part of Muhlenberg County, and in 1854, when McLean 
County was organized, became in turn a part of that county. 

W. G. Stroud, of Semiway, McLean County, in a letter written to me in 
1912, says: "There is a tradition to the efiPeet that at one time a party of 
Indians came to the fort at Pond Station when it was occupied by only one 
man and several women. The other men were out either hunting or at 
work. The Indians made an attack on the fort, but were successfully re- 
pulsed by the occupants. About the year 1850, when I was a boy of ten, 
Thomas Worthington told my father that his grandfather was an inmate of 
the fort and that he (Tom) when a small boy visited him there and saw fine 
corn growing on the site of the old pond. The pond from which the Station 
took its name was made by beavers closing a gap in a ridge with a dam, 
causing the water to cover about twenty-five acres of ground. Local tradi- 
tion gives no dates, and I am not able to give you, even approximately, the 
time when Pond Station was discontinued as a fort or station." 



Pond Station was located on the east side of the Greenville and Rumsey 
Road, on the lands now owned and occupied by J. W. West and R. D. H. 
Beasley. In 1840 the Baptists in that neighborhood organized a congrega- 
tion and called their church Old Station Church, in honor of Pond Station. 
Many years later a new structure was erected by that organization on a site 
about a mile from the original, and since known as Station Church. 

About the year 1795 — that is, about five years after Pond Station had 
been started and about two years after Henry Rhoads settled in Muhlen- 
berg County — Caney Station was started, near the present site of Green- 
ville. This forerunner of Greenville was established by Colonel and Mrs. 


William Campbell, who with William Bradford and a few others, together 
with a number of slaves, came from Lexington for the purpose of opening 
a settlement on General William Russell's and Colonel Campbell's military 
grants. John C. Russell and Samuel Russell, it seems, did not appear upon 
the scene until after Caney Station had been begun by their brother-in-law 
and sister. 

Caney Station was located on a stretch of elevated and rolling ground, 
semicircled by Caney Creek. It was about a mile and a half northwest of 
where Greenville is now, and near wdiat later became the Earles and Lower 
Madisonville Road. A few log houses were erected. According to one ver- 
sion of this tradition, a stockade was also built. However, this spot was not 
decided on for a permanent home or future town. So, when the place for 
the courthouse had been selected (June, 1799), the people of Caney Station 
were all more or less prepared to move to the new town site. 

A few years after Greenville was started Caney Station was entirely 
abandoned. In the course of time the few log houses began to tumble down, 
and finally all traces of the old buildings disappeared. The only thing left 



to mark this historic spot is an abandoned graveyard, which was used by a 
few of the pioneer families for over half a century. Its dozen or more 
fallen tombstones are almost hidden by briars and myrtle, running rampant 
under a few walnut trees and old cedars. 

The square selected for the courthouse and the lots facing it were pre- 
sented to the county by Colonel William Campbell. John Dennis, it is said, 
offered to donate the same amount of ground if any of his survey (about 
three miles southeast of Caney Station) were chosen for the county seat. 

The shaft on the right marks the grave of Edward Rumsey, the stone on its right the 
grave of Charles Fox Wing. These stones have long since fallen, hut were 
temporarily raised to mark the graves for this picture. 

The pioneers objected to Caney Station as a town site because the locality 
was then considered as lying too low for such a purpose. The place selected 
for the county seat was chosen because it was high and therefore more 
healthful, and because near it were two good springs, and furthermore be- 
cause two old trails intersected upon it or not far from it. 

There is a vague tradition to the effect that an old trail ran from Hart- 
ford, crossed Green River at Benton's Ferry (or Rockport), and running 
about two miles south of what later became Central City, continued through 
or near Caney Station or Greenville and crossed Pond River above Harpe 's 
Hill, at what is now called Free Henry Ford. At some point west of Green- 
ville another trail branched off the main route and extended through the 
Murphy's Lake country to the southwest, and like the main trail connected 
with the trail that became the Highland Lick Road. Another old trail 


started from Ovvensboro, or Yellow Banks, went through Rhoadsville (Cal- 
houn) and Pond Station to Caney Station or (xreenville, and passing the 
John Dennis house, continued to Russellville. It is probable that these two 
main trails intersected near the spot where the courthouse was built, and 
that they were old trails used by the Indians up to the time they stopped 
passing through this section of the country.^ 

General William Russell, to whom was granted the land on which Caney 
Station and Greenville were built, was an officer in the Revolution. His 
regiment formed part of General Muhlenberg's brigade, which at times was 
in General Greene's division. General Russell participated in the Brandy- 
wine, Monmouth, and other battles, and was present at the surrender of 
Yorktown. He also fought in the French and Indian War, and led several 
expeditions against the Indians. General Russell was born in 1735 and died 
in 1793. His first wife was Tabitha Adams; his second wdfe was Mrs. Eliz- 
abeth Henry Campbell, widow of General William Campbell and sister of 
Patrick Henry. General Russell was the father of sixteen children, many 
of whom came to Central Kentucky shortly after the Revolution. Plis sec- 
ond son was Colonel William Russell, after whom Russell County is named. 
Three of General Russell's children by his first wife, after a short stay in 
Fayette County, located, as already stated, in Muhlenberg : John C. and 
Samuel Russell and their sister Mrs. Tabitha A. R. Campbell. 

Tabitha Adams Russell Campbell was the wife of Colonel William 
Campbell, who was a son of Patrick Campbell and a cousin of General Wil- 
liam Campbell. General William Campbell w^as the hero of King's Moun- 
tain, where he defeated the British on October 7, 1780, and fought what 
proved to be "the turning in the tide of success that terminated the Revolu- 
tion." In the autumn of 1800, shortly after Greenville's first courthouse 
was completed and the new town started. Colonel William Campbell broke 
his leg and was obliged to ride in a saddle to Ijcxington for medical treat- 
ment. There, in the home of his friend, Colonel Robert Patterson, he died 

1 1 am informed by Julian W. Allen, of Ennis, that about two and a half miles 
above the mouth of Rocky Creek are evidences of an old buffalo trail, three or four 
feet wide, and that where it crossed the creek it is now worn down to a depth of 
about six feet. This trail apparently led from the barrens in Christian County 
through the Mud River country of Muhlenberg, crossed Mud River about eight 
miles below Mud River Mine, into Butler County to Conley's Lake, which, before 
the dam was built at Rochester, was a salt lick. This salt lick, in the olden days, 
covered the ground (about twenty acres) where the lake now is. It is said this 
worn-down area was formed by buffaloes and other animals trampling and wallow- 
ing on the ground while there for the purpose of licking salt. From a point on the 
Muhlenberg side, near the Mud River crossing, the main trail followed the general 
course of Mud River down toward its mouth. An old road that led from Bowling 
Green to Owensboro followed this trail through the Mud River bottoms from the 
lick, over the old Mud River crossing into Muhlenberg, and then continued over 
the hills toward the north. Evidences of this old buffalo trail can also be seen in 
some of the woodlands between Dunmor and Penrod. There are indications that 
below the Mud River country a trail led off from the main buffalo trail toward 
Greenville, through what is now the Pallas Dwyer farm. Since some of the old 
surveys refer to this main trail as the Old Buffalo Trail, it is more than likely that 
traces of it were far more apparent in the days of the first-comers than they are 
now. Evidences indicate that another old trail ran from Berry's Lick, Butler 
County, crossed Mud River about a mile below Mud River Mine, intersected the 
Old Buffalo Trail south of Rocky Creek, and then continued over the Muhlenberg 
hills toward Christian County. 



November 19, 1800, aged forty-one years. Di.ytance and transportation 
facilities were such that the body could not be brought from Fayette 
County, and for that reason the Father of Greenville is not buried in ]\Iuh- 

After Colonel Campbell's death his family continued to li\'e in Green- 
ville. His widow, being a woman of education and means, was in a position 
to give their five children many advantages. She died in Greenville, July 
26, 1806. Their only son, Samuel Campbell, married Cynthia Campbell, 
but had no children. Their daughter, Elizabeth, became the first wife of 
Elder Barton W. Stone, and up to the time of her death in 1810 traveled 
with her husband, who was then beginning his great evangelizing work in 
Western Kentucky. The other three daughters became the wives of some of 
Muhlenberg's most prominent men: Tabitha married Judge Alney ^IcLean. 
Anna S. married Charles Fox Wing, and ^Mary married Ephraim ^I. Brank. 

John C. and Samuel Russell were 
identified with the upbuilding of 
Greenville and Muhlenberg County. 
John C. Russell, who married Anna 
Clay, died November 17, 1822; Sam- 
uel Russell, who married Lucy Rob- 
erts, died October 23, 1835.2 These 
two men were not represented in the 
county as long, nor as numerously, 
as the descendants of Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell. The name of John 
C. Russell, who in 1805 located three, 
miles southeast of Greenville, in 
what is now the Pleasant Hill neigh- 
borhood, is still perpetuated in the 
traditions of the Russell Old Field. 
Samuel Russell, in connection with 
other business, conducted the Rus- 
sell House, which after his death 
was continued by his widow, who 
was succeeded by their son, Robert 
S. Russell. This well-known tavern 
was run until 1861, a period of sixty-two years. It was a two-story log 
house, built in 1799, on ]\Iain Street, due west of the Public Square. Sam- 
uel Russell's eldest son, Robert S. Russell, was the last of the Russells to 
leave the count v. He moved to Paris, Tennessee, in 1865.^ 


- After the death of Mrs. Tabitha A. R. Campbell in 1806, Mrs. Lucy Roberts 
Russell, wife of Samuel Russell, became "The Mother of Greenville." She died in 
the famous Russell House in 1851. A number of years later Mrs. Lucy Wing Short 
Yost became known as "The Grand Old Lady of Greenville." 

3 Robert S. Russell was born in Greenville November 13, 1810. In 1839 he mar- 
ried Celia McLean, daughter of Doctor Robert D. McLean. They were the parents 
of Lucy R., Rebecca W., Samuel, and Edward M. Russell. In 1850 he was a mem- 
ber of the State Senate. He represented Muhlenberg's southern sympathizers in 
the Confederate Legislature at Russellville in November, 1861. He died in Paris, 



William Bradford, as already stated, accompanied Colonel William 
Campbell to the unsettled country that later became Muhlenberg County, 
and helped to build Caney Station. When Greenville was laid out, one 
of the streets was named after Bradford. He was one of the first captains 
in the local militia, and held various county offices in the early days, repre- 
senting Muhlenberg in the Legisla- 
ture in 1801, 1803, 1810, and 1811. 
It is more than probable that Wil- 
liam Bradford was one of the most 
influential of the first-comers in the 
county. His name, like the names of 
many of the other pioneers, appears 
here and there on the pages of the 
old court records, and like the names 
of a number of his contemporaries is 
now seldom heard. As far as I am 
aware, he is forgotten by all the re- 
peaters of local traditions except 
two — William A. Armstrong and 
Judge William H. Yost. 

William A. Armstrong told me 
that about the year 1855 Charles Fox 
Wing, speaking of local men who 
had died years before, referred to 
William Bradford as a man who had 
spent the last years of his life trying to better the laws of the State and im- 
prove the environment of the people of Muhlenberg. Captain Wing also 
told him a story to the effect that Bradford showed heroism in battle on one 
occasion. A bombshell had been thrown into a fort, and Bradford, while 
the fuse was still burning, picked the shell up and threw it on the enemy 
outside the fortification before it exploded, and thus saved the day for the 
Americans. Armstrong's recollection as to where Captain Wing stated 
that this took place was very vague. He, however, was of the opinion that 
it occurred during the second war with England, if not during the Revolu- 
tion or during General Antliony Wayne's campaign in Ohio in 1794. I 
failed to find William Bradford's name on the roster of officers and pri- 
vates who enlisted in Kentucky during the W^ar of 1812. However, since 
that list is far from complete, he may nevertheless have served as a soldier 
from this State. 

Judge William H. Yost, in a letter sent to me recently, writes: "Some 
time between the years 1870 and 1875, while the clerk's office in Greenville 
was undergoing some repairs, Judge Charles Eaves and myself found in 
one of the old record books two copies of a printed circular, written by Wil- 


Tennessee, October 4, 1873. Edward M. Russell, of Paris, Tennessee, in a letter to 
nie, writes: "Except for the eyes, the enclosed photograph of my father, made in 
1870, is a very good likeness. He had large gray eyes, but during the last few 
years of his life they were very much weakened by disease. ... I have often 
heard my father speak of the howling of the M^olves in Greenville at night, so wild 
and unsettled was the country when he was a young man." 



Ham Bradford and addressed to the voters of Muhlenberg County. It was 
headed 'In Prison Bounds.' It announced his candidacy for the Lower 
House of the General Assembly at the ensuing election. Judge Eaves told 
me Bradford was elected and his election took him out of 'Prison Bounds.' 
Judge Eaves also told me that the judgment fixed Bradford's 'Prison 
Bounds' to the limits of the Courthouse Square. I remember how, in his 
circular, he mercilessly flayed his creditors for confining him to 'Prison 
Bounds. ' I was told that their action resulted in his election, and that dur- 
ing the rest of his life he did much toward repealing the old laws inflicting 
imprisonment for debt." 

The old laws according to which men were sentenced to the State prison 
or confined to local "prison bounds" for debt were modified during the 
years that Bradford was a member of the Legislature. All of these laws, 
with the exception of a few, were repealed by 1821, which in all probability 
was after his death. 

No one knows the place and time of William Bradford's birth or death. 
I find no trace of any descendants and therefore infer that he was a bache- 
lor or a childless man. In his day he undoubtedly worked faithfully for 
the betterment of the life and laws of his fellow-men, and having done what 
he regarded as his duty, he probably was indifferent whether or not he 
would be remembered by posterity. Nevertheless, like many others who 
have gone to their reward, if he were to return to his earthly haunts he 
could but say, ' ' How soon we are forgotten ! ' ' 

Jesse iMcPherson was probably 
the first of the first-comers who 
settled in the southeastern part of 
the county. According to one tra- 
dition he arrived upon the scene 
before either Pond or Caney sta- 
tions were started. It is said that 
during 1790, or before, he left his 
wife and two or three children in 
Virginia and came to Kentucky, 
and while looking for a place to 
settle selected a tract of land three 
miles from what later became the 
town of Cisney or Rosewood. He 
spent the winter and spring clear- 
ing two fields, one near the foot of 
a cliff facing a valley leading to 
Cliffy Creek, and another on the 
top of the same cliff. In the mean- 
time he lived in his "cave hut" 
near his bottom field. This im- 
provised house was made by erecting two short walls of logs in front of a 
small cove at the foot of the cliff, and placed in such a way that the top of 
the concave opening in the cliff' served as a roof and the rock wall of the 
cliff and the two log walls served as walls to the "cave hut." The following 


Near Dunmor 



summer, after having set out a crop of corn in each of his fields, he returned 
to Virginia for his family. He brought them to Kentucky and they lived 
in the "cave hut" until a log cabin on the bluff was finished. A few years 
later, or about 1800, he began building the spacious house known as the Jesse 
McPherson house, now occupied by William li. Pearson and his wife, the 
latter a great-granddaughter of Jesse McPherson. The logs used in the con- 
struction of the "cave hut" have long ago disappeared, but the rock-roofed 
cove in ' ' Gave Hut Cliff ' ' has for more than a century been used as a hay bin. 
Jesse McPherson was one of Muhlenberg's best-known pioneers. When 
the county was organized he was appointed one of the justices of the peace. 

THE JESSE Mcpherson house, near dunmor 

He ran a tanyard, horse mill, and distillery for many years. Tradition 
says that he feared nothing. On one occasion his neighbor Billings was at- 
tacked by a bear whose cub he had taken. McPherson, hearing the cry for 
help, rushed to the rescue and killed the animal with a hickory club. A few 
years later IMcPherson took a trip to Arkansas, and upon his return showed 
Billings some hickory nuts he had brought from that State. Billings sug- 
gested that they plant one of the nuts where IMcPherson had saved his life 
from the ferocious bear. This was done, and to-day a large hickory tree, 
standing near the "Cave Hut Cliff," marks the spot where, as one of the 
local oracles puts it, "Billings came near getting the stuffings squeezed out 
of him by a big bear."^ 

4 Jesse McPherson was born in Virginia February 15, 1765, and died May 14, 
1849. His wife was born February 16, 1772, and died August 25, 1822. Both are 



Among other pioneers in the southeastern part of the county were John 
Hunt and James Wood. Hunt, a Revolutionary soldier, came to Muhlen- 
berg from North Carolina about the year 1806 and settled in that part of 
the i\Iud River country known ever since as the Hunt Settlement. The 
house erected in 1825 near Gus by his son, Jonathan Hunt, was later occu- 
pied by the latter 's son, Jefferson Hunt, and he in turn was succeeded by 
his son Amos L. Hunt, who now lives in this well-preserved landmark. 

About the year 1816 James Wood, also of North Carolina, settled a few 
miles above the Hunt Settlement, north of what is now Dunmor. ]Many of 
the descendants of John Hunt and James Wood still live in the Hunt Set- 


tlement and other parts of the ]\Iud River country, where they are highly 
respected farmers. 

Among the children of James Wood was Zillman Wood, who was born in 
1814 and died in 1859, and who in his day was one of the most influential 
men in the Mud River country. One of the sons of Zillman Wood is James 
Willis Wood, a Federal soldier, who was born in 1841 and who all his life 
did much for the good of the county. Among the sons of J. W. Wood is 
Ed S. Wood, who was county clerk from 1898 to 1906.'^ 

buried near their old home near Rosewood. They were the parents of seven chil- 
dren, all of whom lived in the southeastern part of Muhlenberg County, where they 
were well-known citizens: Lewis, John, Alexander, Amos, Alney, and Jesse 
McPherson, and Mrs. Nancy (Samuel) Davenport. 

5 Pioneer John Hunt and his wife. Charity Hunt, were the parents of Jonathan, 
John, Elijah, Owen, Daniel, and Gasham Hunt, Mrs. Charity Davis, and Mrs. Joan 

Pioneer James Wood and his wife, Susan Wood, were the parents of Mrs. Sally 
(Enoch, son of Jonathan) Hunt, Zillman, John, Mrs. Marv (Daniel, son of Elijah) 
Hunt, and Mrs. Elizabeth (J. S.) Hughes. 



Richard C. Dellium and James Foi-gy were among the pioneers of the 
Mud River country, in Butler County. Forgy's Mill on Mud River was 
among the first mills built along that stream. Dellium owned much land in 
Muhlenberg, and about 1815 built a large log house which, although no 
longer used as a residence, is still standing, one mile west of Gus. Collins, 
in his "Histor.y of Kentucky," under 
the head of Butler County, says : 
''Richard C. Dellium carried on a 
trading station at Berry's Lick, and 
James Forgy settled near there, 
about 1794. They had to go to Nash- 
ville to mill along a footpath through 
a solid canebrake. " 

Judge William Worthington was 
one of the most influential first- 
comers in that part of ^Muhlenberg 
which later became a part of J\Ic- 
Lean County. He owned a large 
tract of land on what, for more than 
a century, has been known as the 
"Island" — a territory of about eight 
square miles, surrounded during 
high water by back water from 
Green River, the Thoroughfare. 
Black Lake, and Cypress Creek. His 
home was about a half mile north of 
what is now the town of Island. The 
post-office for that section of the 

country was at his residence for many years, and bore the name of Worth- 
ington up to about 1860, when it was transferred to Point Pleasant on 
Green River. When the Owensboro & Russellville Railroad was built, a sta- 
tion was erected near the old Worthington place and a new post-office 
established. This was appropriately called Island Station, and formed the 
nucleus of the town now known as Island, which in 1910 had a population 
of 547. A more appropriate name, however, would have been the former 
name of Worthington, for no pioneer in ^Muhlenberg was more worthy of 
having his name perpetuated in that manner. Worthington 's Chapel, three 
miles west of Island, called so in honor of his son Thomas, who gave the land 
on which this church is built, is now the only place that bears the name of 
this pioneer family. 

William Worthington came to ]\luh]enberg about fourteen years before 
the county was organized. He took part in many of the early county court 
meetings and often presided over the court of quarter sessions and a num- 
ber of the circuit court meetings. He was a member of the State Senate 
from 1814 to 1826. About the year 1880 his residence burned, and prac- 
tically everything in it was destroyed. Among the few tilings saved was the 
cane presented to him a few years before by his fellow-members of the State 
Senate. This walking-stick is now owned by T. ^I. Worthington, of Dallas, 




About the year 1845 Judge Worthington moved to Point Worthington, 
a plantation in JMississippi owned by one of his sons, and a few years later 
died there. His body was packed in salt and shipped by boat to his old home 
in Kentucky, where he had spent more than sixty years of his life, and 
was there buried by the side of his wife. Two stone- walled graves, each 
covered with a marble slab, mark the last resting-place of the old judge and 
his wife. On one is carved, "Wm. Worthington, Died June 5, 1848, aged 87 
years." — on the other, "]\rary Worthington, Died August 25, 1827, aged 66 

Near Island, McLean County 

Judge and Mrs. Worthington were the parents of a number of children. 
Two of them lived and died in Muhlenberg or McLean counties, near 
Worthington 's Chapel — Mrs. Elizabeth Kincheloe and Thomas Worth- 
ington. One daughter, ]\Irs. Polly Wickliffe, lived in the South. ^ 

<= Elizabeth Worthington married Reverend William Kincheloe. They lived on 
a farm about two miles southeast of Judge Worthington's home. William Kinche- 
loe was for many years one of the few preachers in that neighborhood. After his 
children became large enougli to go to school he employed a teacher for them and 
extended an invitation to the boys and girls of his neighbors to attend this school 
at his expense. He ran a store for many years, and in that connection made a 
number of trips by boat to New Orleans and return. R. M. Kincheloe, of Sacra- 
mento, who represented McLean County in the Legislature in 1891 and 1892, is a 

Thomas Worthington, son of Judge Worthington, was born May 27, 1786, in 
Fort Vienna, now Calhoun. There is a tradition to the effect that his parents. 



The Kincheloes, like the Worthin^ons, were among the most influential 
and highly educated first-comers in the Green River country. Local tradi- 
tion, however, is very vague regarding the history and genealogy of this 
family, although the name of Kincheloe, like that of Worthington, is very 
familiar to those who are versed in local traditions. It is quite probable 
that Lewis Kincheloe, who lived at Kincheloe 's Bluff for many years 
and who took part in the battle of the Thames, was a brother of Rev- 
erend William Kincheloe, who married a daughter of Judge William 
Worthington, and that he was also a brother of Thomas Kincheloe, whose 
son Jesse W., of Breckinridge County, was elected circuit judge in 1851 in 
the district then embracing ]\Iuhlenberg County. One of the pioneer 


Kincheloes, who lived in ^Muhlenberg, died, it is said, on his way to Tippe- 
canoe in 1811. He was probably a brother of Lewis, Reverend William, and 
Thomas. One tradition has it that all the pioneer Kincheloes were soldiers 
in the War of 1812 and were sons of Lieutenant William Kincheloe, who 
fought in the Revolution and died in Western Kentucky about 1798. 

with their two small daughters, had a few weeks before gone to the Fort for pro- 
tection from the Indians. In 1808 he married Elinore Barnes, of Ohio County, and 
shortly after settled near Cypress Creek on a farm that had been presented to 
him by his father. He, like his brother-in-law William Kincheloe, was a preacher, 
and also maintained a school in his neighborhood at . his own expense. He died 
near Worthington's Chapel in 1853. Shortly after his death his wife and all their 
children, except three daughters, moved to Mississippi. These three were Mrs. 
Matilda (W. B.) Lawton, the mother of Alexander Lawton, of Rumsey; Mrs. Caro- 
line (James) Henry, the mother of Joseph G. Henry, of McLean County; Mrs. 
Emily (Joseph L.) Gregory, who is the mother of Reverend Thomas Gregory, 
now of Marshall County. 

Polly Worthington, the second daughter of Judge Worthington, married Aaron 
Wickliffe. They moved to Greenville, Mississippi, and there he became one of 
the wealthiest planters in the South. They had no children, and left their estate 
to one of Judge Worthington's grandsons, whom they had adopted. 



Among the many other first-comers were Arington and Robert Wickliffe 
and their nephews, Colonel Moses Wickliffe and J. W. I. Godman. Arington 
and Robert Wickliffe were sons of John Wickliffe, of Prince William 
County, Virginia. They settled in northeastern Muhlenberg about 1800, 
where Robert died in February, 1820. Both were influential pioneers. 

Arington W^ickliffe was born in Virginia in 1750. He was an officer in 
the Revolutionary army, and took part in many of the battles. Shortly 
after the Revolution he married Catherine Davis, daughter of Captain Jesse 
Davis, of Virginia. In the winter of 1819-20 he rode from Muhlenberg to 
his old home in Virginia on horseback and returned a few weeks later ; he 
died, as a result of the exposure, in ]\Iarch, 1820. He was the father of ten 
children, one of whom was William li. Wickliffe, who was born near South 
Carrollton February 15, 1808, and died in Greenville, July 12, 1892. Wil- 
liam B. Wickliffe was at one time a large landowner and slave-holder. He 
was the father of William A. Wickliffe, of Greenville. 

Colonel iMoses Wickliffe was born in Virginia in 1779 and settled in 
Muhlenberg about 1795. A few years later he made a trip to Virginia to 
report to some of his kinsmen and friends the condition and prospects of the 
Green River country. In 1799 or 1800 he came back to iMuhlenberg accom- 
panied by his two uncles, Arington and Robert, and their families. They 
brought with them J. W. I. Godman, then a child about a year old. Colonel 

Wickliffe did much toward encour- 
aging not only some of his kins- 
men, but many others, to settle in 
j\Iuhlenberg. His integrity and his 
interest in the development of the 
community soon placed him among 
tlie best-known men in the county. 
Tradition says that during the 
War of 1812 and again during the 
^lexican W^ar he organized a com- 
pany of soldiers, but in each case, 
just as he was ready to leave with 
his men for the scene of action, he 
received news that peace had been 
declared. He often served as mag- 
istrate. He represented the county 
in the I^egislature from 1816 to 
1819 inclusive. He was always 
ready to lend a helping hand, and 
never hesitated to express his opin- 
ion when he thought that by so 
doing he could benefit any one. It 
is related of him that, although 
not a member of the Nelson Creek Baptist Church, he often presided over 
the business meetings held by that congregation. On one occasion he re- 
buked the members present, saying, ''Unless you work in peace and har- 
mony the devil will never let loose his liold on this clnirch. I tell vou the 

From Pen-and-ink Sketch made in 1817 


devil himself is in this church now, and right here in your own pulpit this 
very moment!" One of the members called the attention of the audience to 
the fact that Colonel Wickliffe himself was at that moment occupying the 
pulpit. The Colonel, nevertheless, finished his argument, and soon restored 
peace and harmony in the congregation. 

In 1814 Colonel WicklifPe married Nancy Young, of IMuhlenberg. They 
were the parents of ten children, all of whom were well-known citizens of 
the county. He died in 1854 at his home near what is now known as 

J. W. I. Godman was not only a kinsman but a protege of Colonel Moses 
Wickliffe. Although an infant when brought from the old settlements by 
the Wickliffes, the Godman baby was nevertheless one of Muhlenberg's first- 
comers. This baby boy was carried in the arms of one of the women of the 
party who, in 1799 or 1800, rode horseback from Virginia to Muhlenberg. 
It is an interesting fact that about fifty years later this infant first-comer 
became Muhlenberg's first elected county judge. 

Judge John Wickliffe Israel Godman was born in Virginia, December 8, 
1798. He was the only child of John Allen Godman and his wife Susan 
(Wickliffe) Godman, both of whom died shortly after he was born. He was 
named for his two grandfathers, John Wickliffe and Israel Godman. When 
his mother's family moved to Muhlenberg he was reared by his grand- 
parents and his cousin, Colonel Moses Wickliffe. Young Godman 's early 
education was limited to such learning as the schools of his neighborhood 
then offered. This, however, he supplemented with extensive reading, and 
became one of the best read and most practical men in the county. He was 
universally regarded as a superior man. Among other things, he read law 
and medicine. At one time he intended to take up law as a profession. In 
the absence of lawyers and physicians he practiced, gratuitously, both pro- 
fessions among his neighbors. After his marriage he settled on a large tract 
of land in the northeastern part of the county, near Green River, where he 
spent most of his time farming and merchandising. Through these he 
accumulated a good estate. He made trips to Louisville to buy goods, and 
also to New Orleans to sell produce. Henry Clay, some time between 1825 
and 1830, visited him in Muhlenberg, and engaged him to look after the 
Blackburn lands lying near the Godman farm and belonging to a ward of 
Clay's. In this way the two men became the best of friends and carried on 
an extensive correspondence. The letters received from Clay, although pre- 
served by the family for many years, can not now be found. 

Godman was for long a justice of the peace, and being skilled in 
the writing of legal documents he was for many years the only man in his 
section on whom the people relied for the preparation of their most impor- 

"^ Colonel and Mrs. Moses Wickliffe were the parents of (1) Aaron, (2) William 
Y., (3) Mrs. Susan Jane (William Y.) Cundiff, whose husband was a son of pioneer 
Bryant Cundiff, (4 and 5) Benjamin Singleton and Robert McLean, twins, the two 
Avell-known bachelors, (6) Moses, a bachelor, who resigned as sheriff of the county 
to join the Confederate army and who later often served as a magistrate, (7) Mrs. 
Agnes Elizabeth (John F.) Davis, (8) Charles Bryant, who served as sheriff and 
who represented the county in the Legislature in 1889-'91, (9) John Kincheloe, a 
Confederate soldier killed during the war, and (10) Miss Mary Frances Wickliffe. 



tant papers. At the first general election held under the Constitution of 
1850, which took place on the second Monday in May, 1851, he was elected 
county judge, and thus became the first man elected to that office in Muhlen- 
berg. He was devoted to his family, and when attending court at Green- 
ville, discharging his official duties, he made it a rule to ride home every 
night, a distance of fifteen miles. In this way, through exposure to inclem- 
ent weather, he contracted a severe cold, from the effects of which he died 
December 23, 1852. He was buried in the private burying-ground near his 
home, where a large marble slab marks his grave. That Judge Godman was 

' ' the right man in the right 
place" is a statement made 
by those who are familiar 
with the lives of the coun- 
ty's most influential men, 
and is verified by his rec- 
ord as a citizen and judge. 
He left no portrait. He had 
one made a few years be- 
fore he died, but per- 
mitted it to be erased 
in order that the plate 
might be used to make a 
portrait of one of his chil- 

Judge Godman married 
Elizabeth Nicholls, who 
was born in ]\Iuhlenberg 
December 2, 1801, and died 
P'ebruary 6, 1891. She was 
a daughter of pioneer 
James Nicholls and his 
wife Margaret Randolph, 
a daughter of Captain 
John Randolph, who was a 
cousin of the celebrated John Randolph of Roanoke. Captain John Ran- 
dolph was also the father of pioneers Robert^ and John Randolph, jr., and 
Mrs, John Reno. Judge and Mrs. Godman were the parents of three chil- 
dren: Sarah Jane, who married Edmund M. Blacklock^ ; Mary Eliza, who 
married William Johnson Dean^o ; and John Allen, who died in 1854. 

8 Pioneer Robert Randolph died in 1817. He was the father of (1) Ashford D., 
who married Geraldine Gates, daughter of William Gates and among whose chil- 
dren are John R. and E. M. Randolph, (2) Elizabeth, who married Bayless Gates, 
son of William Gates, (3) Robert, jr., who married Harriet Gates, daughter of 
Jesse Gates. 

9 Mr. and Mrs. Edmund M. Blacklock were the parents of seven children, all of 
whom spent the greater part of their lives in Muhlenberg: (1) Mrs. Elizabeth (Ben- 
jamin E.) Young, whose second husband was Judge Q. B. Coleman, (2) Mrs. Mary 
C. (Allison) Kincheloe, (3) Mrs. Sue M. (William) Leiter, (4) John A., (5) Mrs. 
Lena (Jacob) Kittenger, (6) Miss Jennie, and (7) Edmund Blacklock. 

10 Although William Johnson Dean was born in Breckinridge County (January 
17. 1827), where he spent his entire life and where he died (Gctober 10, 1901), he 




Andrew and Peter Shaver were among the prime movers in what was 
for many years called the "Dutch Settlement," now known as the Bre- 
men country. These two pioneers did not appear upon the scene until about 
twenty years after the county had been organized. A number of German- 
Americans and other Virginians had already settled in the northern part of 
Muhlenberg. Among the pio- 
neers who appeared during or 
before the coming of Andrew 
and Peter Shaver were Benja- 
min Coffman, Reverend Sam- 
uel Banner, Jacob Garst, the 
seven Gish brothers, John 
Gossett, Rudolph Kittinger, 
Jacob, Daniel, and Doctor 
John Noffsinger, Lot Stroud, 
the three Vincent brothers, 
and Jacob Whitmer.^i 

Andrew and Peter Shaver 
were sons of Andrew Shaver, 
sr. (originally spelled Scha- 
ber), who was born in Bre- 
men, Germany, came to Amer- 
ica shortly after the Revolu- 
tion, and died in Virginia from wounds received during the War of 1812, in 
which war he had fought, together with his son Peter. John, Jonathan, and 
David Shaver, sons of Andrew Shaver, sr., settled in Muhlenberg some time 
between 1820 and 1825, but left the county before 1840. Parthenia, who 
married John Kittinger, and Mary Magdalene, or Polly, who married Jacob 


From a damaged tintype. 

was nevertheless identified with Muhlenberg County. He had an uncle (Charles F. 
Robertson) living in Aluhlenberg, and often visited the county both before and 
after his marriage. He cultivated the acquaintance of the prominent men of the 
county, and always took much interest In its affairs. He supervised the farming 
and other business operations of Judge Godman's widow, and spent much time in 
the county. His wife was born (August 12, 1829) near what is now Moorman, and 
lived there until her marriage, November 14, 1849. Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Dean were 
the parents of nine children, all of whom lived to be grown: (1) Godman S., of 
Greenville, the father of Harry M. Dean, (2) John Allen, the well-known lawyer 
of Owensboro, (3) Summers, (4) William .Johnson, jr., (5) Mrs. Mary Elizabeth 
(David C.) Herndon, (6) Miss Amanda R., (7) Mrs. Jennie L. (Charles M.) Reid, 
(8) Mrs. Margaret W. (Charles L.) Cornwell, and (9) Charles Wickliffe Dean. Of 
these, two sons, Godman S. and Summers, have lived in Muhlenberg for many 
years, and are among the best-known men in the county. 

^^ Benjamin Coffman came to Muhlenberg in 1803, where he died in 1847. He 
was the father of John L., Isaac, Benjamin P., Jacob, Joseph, Mrs. Katherine (Dan- 
iel) Plain, Mrs. Betsy (Peter) Johnson, Mrs. Nancy Stoghill, Mrs. Hannah (James) 
Nail, and Mrs. Sarah (Jefferson) Rust. 

Reverend Samuel Danner, a Dunkard preacher, was born April 1, 1784, came to 
Muhlenberg about the year 1800, and died near Bremen July 7, 1857. Reverend 
and Mrs. Danner were the parents of nine children: John and Samuel Danner, 
Mrs. Susan (John M.) Gish, Mrs. Nancy (Jacob) Hill, Mrs. Elizabeth (William H.) 
Kittinger, Mrs. Sallie (George) Branson, Mrs. Francis (David) Gish, Mrs. Mary 
(Jacob L.) Groves, and Mrs. Harriett (John) Hendricks. 

Jacob Garst was born in 1795 and died in 1865. His wife, Mary Magdalene 
(Polly) Shaver, was born in 1796 and died in 1871. They were the parents of eight 


Garst, were daughters of Andrew Shaver, sr., and like their brothers An- 
drew and Peter Shaver are to-day represented by many descendants in 
]\Iuhlenberg. I\[rs. Andrew Shaver, sr., died in Muhlenberg about 1840, and 
is buried near Shaver's Chapel. 

Andrew Shaver, jr., married Susan M. Bower in Virginia, and came to 
Muhlenberg about the year 1820. He was a successful farmer and did much 
toward encouraging others to settle in the "Dutch Settlement." His career, 
unfortunately, was a short one. One day two strangers, passing through 
the country, came to the Andrew Shaver home and asked for supper and 
lodging. They were admitted, for in the olden days strangers were wel- 
comed in the homes of the pioneers, if for no other reason than for the news 
they might bring from the outside world. Although the wanderers com- 

children: Alfred, John, Philip P., Andrew, Jacob, jr., Mrs. Sarah (Samuel) Short, 
Mrs. Mary Jane (David J.) Fleming, and Mrs. Margaret (Rudolph) Kittinger. 

Christian Gish, during the year 1800 or earlier, while on his way to Muhlenberg 
from Virginia, was killed in the Cumberland Mountains by a team of horses. His 
widow, Elizabeth Stlntz Gish, and her seven sons took the corpse with them and 
upon their arrival at their destination, near Bremen, buried the body. These seven 
sons were George, who was married to Betsy Peters; John, to Betsy Noff singer; 
David, to Lydia Wiley; Samuel, to Elizabeth Wiley; Abraham, to Mrs. Francis 
Hill; Joseph, to Sarah Landies, and Christian, to Susan Knave. 

John Gossett, who was born in 1776 and died in 1854, married Mary Noffsinger 
in Virginia and came to Muhlenberg about 1812. They were the parents of ten 
children: Samuel, John, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Mrs. Betsy (Robert) Wright, Mrs. 
Rachael (John) Danner, Mrs. Polly (James) Miller, Mrs. Susan (Esquire John) 
Whitmer, jr., and Miss Kate Gossett. 

The Kittingers (six of the children of Jacob Kittinger, who was a native of 
Switzerland) came to Muhlenberg about 1820. They were Rudolph, Joseph, Mar- 
tin, Jonathan, Mrs. Lucinda (Jacob) Miller, and Mrs. Bethena (Martin) Miller. 
Jacob and Martin Miller, who married Lucinda and Bethena Kittinger, were sons 
of pioneer Martin Miller, sr., who was a brother of Henry Miller, the great-grand- 
father of F. Marion Miller, of Bremen. 

Jacob Noffsinger married Susan H. Stoner, who was born in 1764 and died in 
1836. They came to Muhlenberg about the year 1800. The following is a list of 
their children and to whom they vere married: Nancy, to Mr. Cook, then to J. 
Thomas Hill; Mary, to John Gossett; Samuel, to Sallie Rhoads; Betsy, to John 
Gish; Jacob, to Mary Noffsinger; Catherine, to Reverend Samuel Danner; Hannah, 
to Samuel Reid; Susan, to Bradford Rhoads, jr.; Rebecca, to John Noffsinger; 
Sally, to George Humphry; Joseph, to Betsy. Bowman; Miss Rachael Noffsinger, 
and John Noffsinger. John Noffsinger was born in 1803, farmed east of Bremen, 
married Harriet Reno, and died in 1872. Mrs. Harriet R. Noffsinger was born in 
1807 and died in 1897. A picture of Mr. and Mrs. John Noffsinger appears among 
the illustrations in this chapter. 

Daniel and Doctor John Noffsinger were brothers of Jacob Noffsinger. Daniel 
Noffsinger's only child married Wilson Turner. Doctor John Noffsinger died about 
the year 1835, at the age of eighty. He was the father of a number of daughters, 
but only one son, John H. Noffsinger. 

Lot Stroud, who was born February 8, 1778, came to Muhlenberg about the year 
1800, and died November 22, 1824. He settled in what was for many years called 
Stroud, and is now known as Brucken.' There he died November 22, 1824. He was 
the father of six children: Mrs. Fanny (Richard) Morton, Reuben, Jesse, Asher, 
Mrs. Edna M. (Samuel M.) Ross, and Isaac Stroud. 

Three Vincent brothers came to Muhlenberg about the year 1800. They were 
John, Charles, and Thomas Vincent. 

John Whitmer was born June 24, 1752, came to Muhlenberg about 1795, and died 
December 10, 1828. He was the father of eight children: Jacob, John, Michael, 
Valentine, or "Felty"; Mrs. Eve (John) Phillips, Mrs. Susan (Martin) Miller, Mrs. 
Sally (Anthony) Donahue, and Mrs. Dossett. 



plained of being ill, they nevertheless gladly told the news they had heard 
along the road. The next morning it was discovered, to the sui-prise of all, 
that one of the men had smallpox. His companion nursed him through the 
siege, and although every precaution was taken to prevent the disease from 
spreading, Andrew Shaver contracted smallpox and died. He was born 
November 5, 1793, and died June 13, 1S37. His wife, Susan Shaver, was 
born February 14, 1791, and died May 8, 1874.12 




) *, 





^, U _ ■ 





Peter Shaver was born in Virginia January 18, 1790, and died Novem- 
ber 17, 1866. His wife, Nancy Peters, daughter of pioneer Christian Peters, 
was born December 25, 1798, and died September 21, 1879. Peter Shaver 
came to Muhlenberg about 1815, and was regarded as one of the best edu- 
cated men in the "Dutch Settlement." He did much toward the moral, 
educational, and industrial development of the northern part of the county. 
It was he who, in honor of his father's birthplace, had the post-office called 
Bremen, a name it still bears. He was a progressive farmer, and wielded 
the axe, the hammer, and the pen with equal grace. A letter written to his 
son, Benjamin J. Shaver, in 1861, is quoted elsewhere in this volume. The 
day he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding they had their por- 
traits made. On the same day he recorded the following in their family 
Bible: "November 30, 1865: Peter Shaver was married to Nancy Peters 
November 30, 1815. We, the above-named Peter and Nancy Shaver, have, 
through the blessing of God, lived fifty years in the state of matrimony and 

'= Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Shaver, jr., were the parents of eight children: Peter, who 
was married to I. Mclntire; Jacob B., to Ann Mclntire, then to Harriett Mclntire, 
then to Margaret Wilkins; Barbara Ann, to Michael Whitmer; Elizabeth Jane, to 
Bradford Noff singer; Mary, to Felix Naul, then to Absalom Whitmer; Susan, to 
Joseph Hendricks; Caroline, to Wesley Hunt; and Nancy, to Martin Kirtley. 


are this day in good health and able to take care of ourselves. God be 
praised for his mercy and goodness. "^^ 

Such, as I have given it, is a glimpse at some of the first-comers. But 
there were many other prominent pioneers. The Muhlenberg men who 
fought in the War of 1812, the first settlers in the Pond River country, the 
Paradise country, and the Rhoads and the Weirs, were among the other 
first-comers. The part taken by these pioneers in the settling and upbuild- 
ing of the new county is recorded in some of the other chapters in this history. 
They, like the men and women referred to in this chapter, helped to make 
Muhlenberg what it is to-day. 

13 Mr. and Mrs. Peter Shaver were the parents of five children: Andrew, who 
was married to Theodosia A. Timmens; Benjamin J., to Susan Jagoe, and then to 
Ann Morehead; David, to Mildred Taylor; Polly, to Thompson Miller, and John M., 
to Catherine Welsh. 




AMONG the pioneers who first settled that section of the Green River 
country which is included in what is now the northern part of 
Muhlenberg County were some who had fought in the Revolution 
under General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg. Most of the first 
settlers in the central and southern sections of the county were Virginians 
and Carolinians, mainly of English, Scotch, and Irish extraction. 

Representatives of General Muhlenberg's array drifted to this part of 
the Green River country from Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Vir- 
ginia. Most of General Muhlenberg's soldiers were born in America, but 
their fathers came from Germany and Holland long before the Revolution. 
Among these was Henry Rhoads, "the Godfather of Muhlenberg County," 
who not only procured the name of his general for the county but was also 
a prominent pioneer in Western Kentucky and identified with the early de- 
velopment of Muhlenberg and the entire western section of the Green River 

In Perrin's "History of Kentucky," page 997, a brief sketch of the life 
of Rhoads is incidentally introduced in a biography of Professor McHenry 
Rhoads, the well-known educator, who is a son of Absalom J. Rhoads, a 
grandson of Solomon Rhoads, and a great-grandson of Henry Rhoads.^ 
From this sketch I quote : 

Henry Rhoads was born in Germany in 1739 and died in Logan county 
in 1814. [He died in Muhlenberg County.] He and two of his brothers 
came to America about 1757 and settled in Bedford county, Pennsylvania. 
In 1760 he married Elizabeth Stoner of Maryland. He fought for his 
adopted country through the great struggle for Independence, under the 
leadership of General Muhlenberg. After the war for Liberty, having lost 
heavily in the cause, he, with his two brothers and their families, came to 
Kentucky. They stopped first at Bardstown where they left their wives 
and children, and then went out in the wilderness to find a site to build a 
town. The place selected was at the falls of Green river where they started 
a settlement and called it Rhoadsville. After three years of peaceable pos- 
session an action was entered in the Ohio circuit court, styled "John Hanley 
vs. Henry Rhoads and others, ' ' for the possession of the land on which the 
new town stood. The suit was gained by the plaintiff. Henry Rhoads and a 
few of his friends then removed to Barnett's Station, on Rough Creek, where 
he lived five years, during which time the present town of Hartford was 
laid out and a few houses built. He next moved to Logan county and set- 
tled . . . where he owned 7,000 acres of military land. He represented 

1 The name Rhoads is occasionally spelled Rhoades and Rhodes, but pioneers 
Henry and Solomon Rhoads and their descendants never so wrote it. 



the county [Logan and what became -Muhlenberg] in the legislature of Ken- 
tucky in 1798, [and] on its formation [in December, 1798] as a county, 
named it in honor of General Muhlenberg. 

Collins, in his ' ' History of Kentucky, ' ' under the head of ^McLean County, 
says that the first fort or station in iMcLean County was built where Cal- 
houn now stands, in 1788, by Solomon Rhoads, and called Vienna, and that 
in 1790 James Inman built Pond Station, a few miles southeast of Calhoun. 

Other authorities and most traditions say that Henry Rhoads established 
a station some time between 1784 and 1788 where Calhoun now stands, and 


that he was assisted in this work by his brother Solomon Rhoads and an- 
other brother whose name is usually given as David. At any rate, a few 
years after Henry Rhoads established or helped to establish Rhoadsville or 
Fort Vienna, he lost the title to all his land in that vicinity, and after living 
for a while near Hartford he moved into what is now the Browder ]\Iine 
neighborhood, in ^luhlenberg County, which at that time was part of Logan 

From a letter written to me by Judge Lucius P. Little, of Owensboro, 
the highest authority on the history of the Green River country, T quote : 

"When Henry Rhoads came to this part of the Green River country he 
stopped at Barnttt's Fort, on Rough River, al)ove Hartford. He first 
located his claim for land at the site of the present town of Calhoun, and 
laid out a town in 1781: and called it Rhoadsville. When Rhoads was de- 

liENRY KHOxlDS 31 

feated by Captain John Hanley, agent for the Dorseys, of Maryland, the 
name of the town was changed to Vienna. Rhoads then went back to Bar- 
nett's Fort for a short time and soon after located in the bounds of the pres- 
ent county of Muhlenberg, five miles from Paradise on Green River and a 
mile from the present town of Browder on the Louisville & Nashville Rail- 

' ' Simultaneously with the departure of the Germans to the south side of 
the river, they erected a fortification about five miles south from Rumsey 
for refuge in case of Indian attack. This was called 'Pond Station.' This 
was in Muhlenberg until the territory embracing it was made a part of Mc- 
Lean County. About the same time such of the residents of Fort Vienna as 
owned slaves quit the fort and opened up farms north of the river, where 
some of their descendants are still to be found. 

*'As late as 1840 the settlement south of Cypress Creek and extending 
far enough south to embrace Sacramento and Bremen was commonly called 
'The Dutch Settlement.' While these people were thrifty, yet few of them 
owned slaves." 

In 1798, a few years after settling in Logan County, Henry Rhoads be- 
came a member of the State Legislature and on December 14, 1798, an act 
was passed creating a new county out of parts of Christian and Logan. It 
was Henry Rhoads who proposed and secured the name of ]\Iuhlenberg for 
the new county. Ed Porter Thompson, in his "School History of Ken- 
tucky," page 162, says: 

General IMuhlenberg was at no time a resident of Kentucky. His name 
and his deeds, however, are of interest to us because some of the gallant 
members of his church who followed him when he left his pulpit to fight for 
independence, had grants of land for military service, which they located 
on and below Green River, soon after the close of the Revolution, and made 
their homes in what are now IMuhlenberg, McLean and Ohio counties. One 
of them, the Hon. Henry Rhoads, was a member of the legislature in 1798 
when Muhlenberg county was established, and procured it to be named in 
honor of his pastor and general. . . . Through the influence of one to 
whom General Muhlenberg had been a pastor in peace and a valiant captain 
in the fight for freedom, his ever enduring monument (a county's name) 
was erected, not in his own land, but in the wilderness of Kentucky. 

While faithfully and successfully serving the public, Henry Rhoads had, 
for a number of years, more or less trouble in establishing his claim to the 
land to which he was entitled and on which he lived after he moved into 
what later became a part of Muhlenberg. This land, of which he finally 
gained possession, lay in what was up to 1798 a part of Logan County. It 
was part of a grant of almost 7,000 acres which he had surveyed in 1793 for 
General Alexander McClanahan, with the understanding that he was to re- 
ceive part of it. It is possible that 1793 was the year Henry Rhoads first 
settled in what is now Muhlenberg. In 1797 the State of Kentucky issued 
to McClanahan and Rhoads a patent for this survey. In October, 1801, a 
commission of six men was appointed to divide this tract between the two 
and issue a deed to each for his share. Order Book No. 1, page 1, gives the 



names of these commissioners, all of whom were prominent pioneers — John 
Dennis, Henry Keith, IMatthew Adams, William Bell, Benjamin Tolbert, 
and Solomon Rhoads Deed Book No. ] , page 66, shows that they granted 
Henry Rhoads two thousand acres of the survey, for which he received a 
deed October 26, 1801. Thus, after a long and patient struggle, he 
held a title to land against w^hich no priority of claim was ever brought. 
In 1798 he bought an adjoining survey of five hundred acres that had 
been granted to General George IMatthews. 

It was on this 2,500-acre tract 
that he built his home, shortly after 
his arrival from Hartford. The orig- 
inal dwelling has undergone many 
changes, but is still standing, near 
the Greenville and Rochester Road 
about nine miles from Greenville. 
The farm on which this house stands 
has passed from father to son for 
more than a century, and is now 
owned by Professor iMcHenry 
Rhoads. Near this historic house is 
the old family graveyard. In it, 
among five generations of Rhoads 
buried there, is the grave of the 
' ' Godfather of JNIuhlenberg County, ' ' 
on which was placed, almost a 
century ago, a sandstone about two 
feet high and marked: "H. R., B. J. 
5, 1739, D. M. 6, 1814." 

Henry Rhoads died on the 6th of 
March or May, 1814, aged seventy- 
five. His "last will and testament" 
was written April 15, 1812, wit- 
nessed by "J. W. McConnell and 
"Wm. Sumner." It was recorded in 1813 and probated in August, 1814, as 
attested by "C. F. Wing, Clerk," in AVill Book No. 1, page 194: 

In the name of God, Amen. I, Henry Rhoads, of the county of Muhlen- 
berg and State of Kentuck.y, being M'eak in body but of perfect mind and 
memory, do make and ordain this my last will and testament. 

First, I recommend my soul to the Almighty God, and as touching my 
worldly effects wherewith He has helped me, I give and dispose of tliem in 
the following manner. 

First, I give and bequeatli to my beloved wife Barbay Rhoads all tlie 
property she brought with her after we were married, agreeable to contract, 
and one cow, a large heifer and one iron pot and the corner cupboard and 
chest and my large Bible, and tlie low posted bedstead, one large and one 
small wheel including all the furniture we have got since we were married. 
I also give and bequeatli to my beloved wife Barbay all that is allowed to 
her agreeable to the courts of a bond on mv son David Rhoads bearing date 
August 23, 1810. 




Secondly, I give and bequeath all my debts, dues and demands and all 
the property I own in this world except what is expressly mentioned in this 
my last will to my children, namely my sons, Jacob Rhoads, Daniel Rhoads, 
Henry Rhoads, Solomon Rhoads, David Rhoads, Susanah Nighmyoir and 
Caty Jackson, Elizabeth VanMeter and Hannah Jackson, all my daughters, 
to be equally divided among them, at the discretion of my executors at my 

Lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint my brother Daniel Rhoads 
and Solomon Rhoads and David Rhoads as executors of my last will and tes- 
tament, hereby ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will 
and testament, hereby revoking all other wills by me made as witness and 
seal this 15th day of April in the year of our Lord 1812 and the presence of 
viz : Henry Rhoads. (Seal)^ 

When Henry Rhoads set- 
tled on his tract of land 
Muhlenberg was practically 
an unbroken wilderness. 
Many wild animals, large 
and small, held sway. A 
number of stories are told 
about the game that roamed 
over these hills in olden 
times. I here repeat two of 
these stories, because they 
are characteristic of life in 
the wilderness and because 
they are incidents from the 
life of Muhlenberg's first 
great pioneer, handed down 
by local tradition. 

When Henry Rhoads was building his log house his neighbors were few 
and far between, but all came with a helping hand and a happy heart to 
take part in his ''house-raising." These old-time house-raisings were at- 
tended as much for the sake of their social features as for the purpose of 
building a house. 

One afternoon, while the crowd was busily engaged on the roof of this 
building, a large bear leisurely wandered into sight. When the men saw the 




2 The descendants of Solomon Rhoads, son of Henry Rhoads, are represented 
more extensively in Mulilenberg County and other parts of the Green River coun- 
try than any other of Henry Rhoads' children. Solomon Rhoads was born June 7, 
1774, and died near Browder November 19, 1849. (This Solomon Rhoads was a 
nephew of the Solomon Rlioads who, with Henry Rhoads and another brother, 
started the station which later became Calhoun.) 

Among the children of Solomon Rhoads was Henry Rhoads, whose picture, 
taken with his wife and daughter, is here reproduced. This Henry Rhoads was 
born in Muhlenberg in 1806, where he died in 1864. His wife, Elizabeth Morton 
Rhoads, was born in Muhlenberg in 1808 and died near Greenville in 1907. They 
were the parents of Morton and Doctor Solomon Rhoads and Cynthia Ann, who 
in 1863 became the wife of Robert W. Browning. 

Luther Bard Rhoads, of Drakesboro, is a son of Isaac W., grandson of Barnabas 
and a great grandson of David Rhoads, who was a son of Henry Rhoads. 


animal they stopped work and immediately started on a bear chase. Some 
ran after him with axes and others with guns. The women of the wilder- 
ness always lent a helping hand. In this instance one woman followed in 
the bear chase with a pitchfork. After an exciting time old Bruin was 
iinally killed. That night a large bearskin was stretched on the new log 
wall and barbecued bearmeat was served in abundance at all the other meals 
prepared for the house-raising party. 

But the noise made by the bear-chasers evidently did not scare all the 
wild animals out of the neighborhood. About a year after that event Henry 
Rhoads, while walking in his wood, which is still standing a short distance 
north of the old house, espied a large drove of wild turkeys. He slowly 
raised his flint-lock rifle for the purpose of shooting a fine gobbler strutting 
under a white oak within close range. "When he Avas about ready to pull the 
trigger he heard a rustling in the dry leaves behind him. Rhoads looked 
around, and to his great surprise saw a huge panther preparing to spring 
upon him. Without stopping to take sure aim he fired at the threatening 
beast. Luckily, the bullet hit the animal between the eyes and killed it in- 
stantly. A half-hour later Rhoads walked back home with the panther skin 
on his arm and his trusty flint-lock on his shoulder. 

These old flint-locks were, as a rule, fine-sighted and unerring. They 
were slow but sure, although they did not kill every panther they were 
aimed at. Compared with modern rifles they were slow in all the operations 
that preceded and resulted in the discharge of the bullet. 

Most of the local traditions are subject to a variety of versions. The old 
panther story, as I have related it, has probably changed very little from 
the original since Henry Rhoads' day. However, another version of this in- 
cident has also crept into circulation, and shows to what extent some tra- 
ditions are changed. This new version has it that when Henry Rhoads saw 
the wdld turkey in the woods he took steady aim and then pulled the trigger 
of his flint-lock. He had no more than pulled the trigger when he heard the 
panther back of him. Rhoads turned, immediately swung his gun around 
and aimed at the panther, then in the very act of making a long leap from 
a limb down upon the hunter. But the old pioneer was quicker than the 
discharging powder or the charging panther, for he had the gun pointed at 
the animal before the bullet left the barrel, and thus killed the panther 
with the load that, a few seconds before, had been started toward the 
turkey ! This same version continues with the statement that the animal 
did not drop to the ground after it was shot, but fell across the shoulder of 
the hunter, who then leisurely walked home and did not throw the panther 
down on the ground until he reached the front of his house. I do not adopt 
this version, but merely record it for its vivacity and novelty. 

Henry Rhoads, as already stated, was a member of the State Legislature 
from Logan County when, in 1798, Muhlenberg was formed, and he was the 
first man to represent the new county in the House of Representatives. He 
was sixty years of age when the county was organized. Although he de- 
clined various county offices offered to him, he nevertheless continued to 
work for the good of the community, and probably did as much for the 
county, if not more, than any of the other early pioneers. He helped draw 



the plans for the first courthouse and also did much toward promoting the 
interests of Greenville, the new county seat. He was bondsman and adviser 
to a number of the younger men whom he successfully recommended for 
office. Tradition says that many, and probably all, of the German-Ameri- 
can pioneers in Muhlenberg 
came to the county through his 
direct or indirect influence. 

During his last years Henry 
Rhoads spent much of his time 
looking after his farm, tanyard, 
and other personal affairs, but 
nevertheless lost no opportunity 
to bring in new settlers and per- 
form such acts as he thouglit 
would advance Muhlenberg 
County and its people. To-day 
a small sandstone is all that 
marks the spot where rest the 
bones of this influential pioneer. 
Some day his labors will be 
more fully recognized and ap- 
preciated and an appropriate 
memorial will then, I dare say, 
be erected over the grave of 
the Godfather of Muhlenberg 



3 Professor McHenry Rhoads, a great-grandson of Henry Rhoads, was born in 
Muhlenberg County on July 27, 1858, and entered West Kentucky College, South 
Carrollton, in 1876, from which institution he was graduated in 1880. He held the 
chair of natural science in this college until 1885, when he was elected vice-presi- 
dent of the Hartford College and Business Institute, where he taught science and 
literature until 1891, when he was elected Superintendent of City Schools at 
Frankfort, which position he held for nine years. In 1900 he was elected to the 
superintendency of the city schools of Owensboro, which position he held for 
eleven years. In the fall of 1910 he was appointed State Supervisor of High 
Schools under the General Education Board and elected to the professorship of 
secondary education in the State University, which position he now holds. He has 
been a member of the National Educational Association since 1891, and has served 
in the capacity of director, vice-president, and treasurer. His work as State Su- 
pervisor of High Schools arises out of a dual position, he being connected with the 
State University and the Department of Education at Frankfort. 


A FEW DAYS after the State Legislature began its regular session, 
November 5, 1798, the subject of forming a number of new coun- 
ties was brought before the House. Henry Rhoads was then rep- 
resenting Logan County. Through his efforts the act establishing 
a new county out of parts of Christian and Logan was passed. It was he 
who proposed and procured the name of Muhlenberg for the new county. 
This act, passed at the first session of the Seventh General Assembly, creat- 
ing Mulilenberg, reads as follows : 

An act for the erection of a new County, out of the Counties of Logan 
and Christian. Approved, December 14th, 1798. 

§ 1. Be it enacted hy the General Assembly, that from and after the fif- 
teenth day of May next, all that part of the counties of Logan and Christian 
included in the following bounds, to wit : Beginning at the mouth of Mud 
river, running up said river with its meanders within three miles of the 
mouth of Wolf Lick fork on a straight line ; from thence with a straight line 
to the Christian county line, six miles below Benjamin Hardin's; from 
thence on a straight line so as to strike Pond river, two miles below Joel 
Downing's; from thence down Pond river with the meanders to the mouth; 
from thence up Green river to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, 
and called and known by the name of Muhlenbero. But the said county 
of Muhlenberg shall not be entitled to a separate representation until the 
number of free male inhabitants therein contained above the age of twenty- 
one years, shall entitle them to one representative, agreeable to the ratio 
that shall hereafter be established by law. After said division shall take 
place, the courts of the said county shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in 
every month, except those in which the courts of quarter sessions are hereby 
directed to be held. And the court of quarter sessions shall be held in the 
months of ^larch. May, July and October, in such manner as is provided by 
law in respect to other counties in this state. 

§ 2. The justices named in the commission of the peace for said county 
of Muhlenberg, shall meet at the house of John Dennis, in the said count3^ 
on the first court day after the division shall take place, and having taken 
the oaths prescribed by law, and a sheriff being legally qualified to act, the 
court shall proceed to appoint and qualify their clerk, and fix on a place for 
the seat of justice for the said county, and proceed to erect the public build- 
ings at such place. Provided always, that the permanent seat of justice 
shall not be fixed, nor a clerk be appointed (except pro tempore), unless a 
majority of the justices of the court concur therein, but shall be postponed 
until such majority can be had. 

§ 3. It shall be lawful for the sheriffs of the counties of Logan and 
Christian to make distress for any public dues or officers' fees unpaid by 
the inhabitants thereof at the time such division shall take place, and they 
shall be accountable in like manner as if this act had not passed. 

The courts of the counties of Logan and Cliristian sliall have jurisdic- 
tion in all actions and suits depending therein at the time of said division, 
and they shall try and determine the same, issue process, and award execu- 
tion thereon. 



Section of J. Russell's "Map of the State of Kentucky with Adjoin- 
ing Territories," published in 1794, showing extent of the original 
Logan County from 1792 to 1796. Among the errors on this old map is 
the location of "Howards Settlements," which were on Gasper River 
and not on Mud (or Muddy) River as here indicated. 



Section of Munsell's Map of Kentucky, pul)lished in 1835, showing outline of Muhlenberg 
and adjoining counties up to 1854, when McLean County was formed 



The line that, before the formation of Muhlenberg, separated Logan 
from Christian and lay within the bounds of what became Muhlenberg, is 
described in the act creating Christian County as follows: "Beginning on 
Green river, eight miles below the mouth of Muddy riveri ; thence a straight 
line to one mile west of Benjamin Hardin's." In other words, this former 
dividing line ran in a southwesterly direction from a point on Green River 






1.YNN ciTV;^<^^ r^- 1^ 

^-- -MILLPORT BREME^r->^?^i^ 



i«^"^i^N COUNTY 






!*s Hill 




\ \ ) 


^ITY /^ 





k* ^r/^^^O^c^'^ GREENVILLE 


ff^~-t^„'r^, •BANCROFT PO. '' 
'^^/7 u rpji eyo v^ ■ 



ENNis pq. ^S> 

BlicknerS Stack 

A^* /■ro'-YOST EO.: 










i p^%?c^%^_._l ^-'"- 




Map of Muhlenberg County compiled from six atlas sheets issued hy the United States 
Geological Survey (1907-1912) 

eight miles below the mouth of Mud River to a point in the neighborhood of 
what later became the northwest corner of Todd County. That being the 
fact, about three fourths of the original area of Muhlenberg County, or 
about two thirds of the present area, was taken from Christian, and the re- 
mainder — the southeastern part of Muhlenberg— was taken from Logan 

^ Mud River, up to about 1860, was more frequently referred to as Muddy River 
than Mud River. Pond River, on Elihu Barker's map of Kentucky publisiied in 
1795, is marked "Muddy or Pond River." Neither Pond River nor Mud River is 
correctly named or placed on Russell's map, published in 1794. 


I judge that after the southern line had been surveyed it was discovered 
that certain lands originally intended to fall within the bounds of Muhlen- 
berg were, according to the "calls for running the county line," not in- 
cluded in the new county. At any rate, on December 4, 1800, the Legisla- 
ture passed "An act to amend and explain an act, entitled 'an act for the 
division of Christian county,' " which I here quote in full: 

Whereas, it is represented to the present General Assembly that the act 
passed in December, 1798, for the division of Christian county is imperfect, 
and wants amending: 

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, that so much of the act 
as calls for running the county line from six miles below Benjamin Har- 
din's, to strike Pond river two miles below Joel Downing 's, be and the same 
is hereby repealed ; and the line shall run from said six mile tree to Job 
Downing 's on Pond river, so as to include said Downing 's dwelling house in 
Muhlenberg. This act shall commence and be in force from and after its 

An act to establish the county of McLean was approved by the Legisla- 
ture on January 28, 1854, and set "the second Monday in May, 1854," as 
the time for the beginning of the new county. Muhlenberg, Ohio, and 
Daviess counties furnished the territory. Muhlenberg's part (about thirty- 
five square miles) was all the land that lay between Green and Pond rivers 
north of the line described thus in the acts of 1854 : " . . . the mouth of 
the Thorouglif are branch ; thence up the Thoroughfare branch to the mouth 
of Big creek ; thence up Big creek to a point where the road from Rumsey 
to Greenville crosses the same; thence a straight line to the head of the 
island on Pond river, at the Horseshoe bend. ' ' " 

In 1890 a change was made in a part of the southeastern boundary of 
the county. An act passed April 30, 1888, provided for the appointment of 
commissioners "for the purpose of establishing the lines between Muhlen- 
berg and Butler counties." An act approved May 22, 1890, briefly states: 
"That IMud river be, and the same is, made the line between Butler and 
Muhlenberg counties." This act added to ]\Iuhlenberg a triangular strip of 
land covering a few square miles touching on Mud River below the mouth 
of Wolf Lick Fork. It incidentally ended the occasionally disputed ques- 
tion as to which county the land really lay in, and therefore also settled the 
discussion as to which county governed it in the sale of liquor. It is said 
that this strip was, up to 1890, invariably "wet," regardless of whether 
Muhlenberg or Butler were "dry." 

- The county line between Todd and Muhlenberg was "run and re-marked" in 
February, 1853 (Deed Book No. 17, page 336), and the line between McLean and 
Muhlenberg in August, 1872 (Deed Book No. 25, page 452). 


ALTHOUGH Greenville is Muhlenberg County's first and only 
county seat, the first six county courts and first three meetings of 
the court of quarter sessions were held elsewhere, before the town 
was begun. These initial meetings took place at the home of 
pioneer John Dennis, about two miles southeast of Greenville on the Green- 
ville and Russellville Road. The original Dennis house was a large three- 
room log house put up about 1790 by John Dennis, who in 1810 built a two- 
story brick of four rooms adjoining it. Both houses were torn down in 1902 
by W. I. Gragston, who erected a frame residence on the site of the old land- 

Back of the original log and brick residence were scattered a few slave 
cabins, a smoke-house and an ice-house ; across the road stood a large log 
barn, a blacksmith shop, a horsepower corn mill, and several sheds, all of 
which gave the Dennis farm the appearance of a small town. But all these 
barns and other accessory buildings erected by John Dennis were torn 
down many years before the log and brick residence disappeared. 

The old Dennis house was one of the earliest "stopping-places" in the 
county, and in its day one of the most noted. Among the other early 
places of entertainment for man and beast were the Tyler Tavern at 
Kincheloe's Bluff and the Russell House in Greenville. The Dennis tavern 
was situated on a comparatively much-traveled public road leading from 
Nashville and Russellville to Owensboro and other towns. Stage coaches, 
loaded with passengers and their deerskin trunks and carpetbags, halted at 
this tavern in the olden days. All travelers over this route, whether in pub- 
lic conveyance, horseback, or afoot, or in their own sulkies, buckboards, 
wagons, or landslides, lingered here. Those who were on long trips made it 
a point to spend the night with the genial John and the members of his 
household. Circuit riders occasionally appeared on the scene and held 
services in the house or under an arbor near by. 

Before Greenville was started, the Dennis place was the principal head- 
quarters for the pioneers who lived in the southern part of the county. On 
the stile-blocks and around the large open fire-places the local happenings 
were related by the pioneers, who came not only to discuss such affairs but 
also to trade in the store and to hear the latest news brought by the travel- 
ing public. But after Greenville became the county seat one patron after 
another changed his trading and meeting place to the new town, and long 


before 1822, when John Dennis died, the Dennis place had been relegated to 
the past. In the meantime, one after another, the pioneers died, and many 
of the stories of their adventures that had often been told by them were no 
longer heard, and so in the course of time most of the long-past events grad- 
ually ceased to be topics of conversation, slowly faded out of memory, and 
were finally lost forever. Only a few of these once-familiar facts were 
handed down for a generation or two, and are now but dimly remembered 
as traditions. 1 

"Written official records are required by law, and these, from the begin- 
ning down to the present, are still preserved and are now on file in the 
courthouse at Greenville. The first of the county court records I quote in 

May 28th, 1799. At the house of John Dennis, in the county of Muhlen- 
berg, on Tuesday the 28th day of May 1799. 

Agreeably to an Act of Assembly entitled an Act for Forming a New 
County out of the Counties of Logan and Christian, a commission of the 
peace from his Excellency, James Garrard, Esquire, was produced, directed 
to James Craig, John Dennis, William Bell, Isaac Davis, John Russell, 
Robert Cisna, Richard Morton, John Adams and Jesse McPherson, appoint- 
ing them justices of the peace in and for the county aforesaid, which being 
read, thereupon John Dennis, Esquire, administered the oath to support 
the Constitution of the United States, the oath of fidelity to this Common- 
Avealth, and also the oath of a justice of the peace to James Craig, Isaac 
Davis and William Bell, whereupon the said James Craig administered the 
said several oaths to John Dennis, Esquire. 

And thereupon a court was held for said county. Present : James Craig, 
John Dennis, Isaac Davis, William Bell, Esquires. 

John Bradley, Esquire, produced a commission from his Excellency the 
Governor appointing him Sheriff in and for said county which being read, 
he, the said John, thereupon took the oath to support the Constitution of 
the United States, the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth and also the 
oath of office of Sheriff, and together witli Isaac Davis and William Worth - 
ington, his securities, entered into and acknowledged their bond in the pen- 
alty of Three Thousand Dollars conditioned as the law directs. 

The court appointed Charles Fox Wing their clerk pro tempore who 
thereupon took the oath to support the Constitution of the United States, 
the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth and also the oath of office, and to- 
gether with Henry Rhoads, Sen., and William Campbell, his security, en- 
tered into bond in the penalty and conditioned as the law directs. 

Alney McLean, Esquire, produced a commission from his Excellency the 
Governor, appointing him surveyor in and for the county of Muhlenberg, 

' The Dennis house was occupied by a number of well-known persons after it 
had been vacated by the Dennis family. Among those who in later years lived in 
this house was the Reverend William Leftwich Cornett, who came to Muhlenberg 
in 1874 and continued to live in this historic brick residence until 1884. He died 
April 15, 1892, aged eighty. He was preacher, farmer, blacksmith, and saddler. 
One of his old church members says: "Brother Cornett was the Saint Paul of the 
Pond Creek country. He plowed and preached, worked and worshiped, on and on, 
for the now and the hereafter."' Reverend Cornett and his wife, Harriet Ward 
Cornett, were the parents of thirteen children, among whom are Ulysses C, Ed- 
ward E., and Andrew- Jackson (who is an old bachelor, and is known throughout 
Muhlenberg as "Uncle Jack"). 



whereupon he took the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States, the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth and also the oath of office, 
and together with Robert Ewing and Ephraim McLean, Sen., his securities, 
entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of six hundred 
pounds conditioned as the law directs. 

On the recommendation of Alney McLean, Esquire, surveyor of the 
county, William Bradford, George Tennell and James Weir, Esquire, were 


Governor of the faid Com- 

■c^ y^y^r z^- ' V>. 

Efq'' Grefeting: KNOW YOU, that rcpofing fpecial truft and confidence 
in your knowledge, integrit}',' and good conduft, I have nominated, 
atal by £tid uhli ihc advice an ^j^|^^ |gfe^^| ||||| j pj || ^ - do<.<^flbti)t; •t*'^" 
JUSTICES of the vjy^r^'f'f' TT^i^^^^^^^^j^ Court in the 
county Q>^,-y^ <(/k//- >: A^^'^ to a6l as fuch from tTie commencement of 
the faid county and to continue in oOice during good behaviour. 


caufed thcfe Letters to be made pa'cnt, 
and t!ic Seal of the Stale to i>e hereunto 

GIVEN under mv hani at Fbankfort, 
tliis X a dav of _~-Orc ^ 

in the year of our Lord, one thoufand, 
' feven hundred and ninety- , ^V? .-'^ /*. 

BY TtlE cdf'ERXOR, 




.^~«-<m*m^ar*-*«,~— ,^aifl, •--^-y.Sjjjf^^iy 

Showing appointment of MuhlenTierg County's first justices, December 22, 1798 


admitted as his deputies, who thereupon took the oath to support the Consti- 
tution of the United States and the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth 
and also the oath of office as deputy surveyors. 

Peter Lyons' stockmark: two smooth crops and a nick under each ear. 
On his motion ordered to be recorded. 

Henry Davis' stockmark: a hole in each ear. On his motion is ordered 
to be recorded. 

The court appointed John Anderson constable for the county of Muhlen- 
berg, who thereupon took the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States, the oath of fidelity to this Commonwealth and also the oath of con- 
stable, and together with Richard Tyler, his security, entered into and 
acknowledged their bond in the penalty and conditioned as the law directs. 

On the motion of Richard Tyler leave is granted him to keep a tavern at 
his house in Lewisburg whereupon with Lewis Kincheloe, his security exe- 
cuted bond in the penalty and conditioned as the law directs. 

Ordered that the next court he held at John Dennises. 

Ordered that the court be adjourned until court in course. 

The minutes of these proceedings were signed hy 

James Craig. 

The second meeting of the county court took place in the John Dennis 
house on Tuesday, June 25, 1799. The record covers about three times as 
many pages as the first, and is signed by John Dennis. Charles Fox Wing 
was appointed county clerk "during good behavior." Evidently his be- 
havior was considered good and his books well kept, for he held the office 
more than half a century. 

James Weir was appointed to compile a list of the taxable property in 
the county. The following oaths were administered : Robert Cisna and 
Richard Morton, justices of the peace; William Bradford, deputy sheriff; 
John Culbertson, coroner; Peter Boggess and Thomas Morton, constables. 

Sixteen men had their stock-marks recorded. Six roads were considered, 
and for each a committee was appointed to "view and mark the most con- 
venient way." A number of "bargains and sales" were recorded. Ferries 
were established at Smith's Landing and Lewisburg, on Green River. John 
Dennis was granted license to keep a tavern at his house. Tavern rates and 
ferry charges were fixed. Among such items are : 

Dinner 1 shilling 6 pence. 

Breakfast or supper 1 shilling. 

Whisky, per half pint 9 pence. 

Peach brandy, per half pint 1 shilling. 

Corn, per gallon 6 pence. 

Stableage, 24 hours 4 pence. 

Ferry for a horse, single 4^/4 pence. 

Ferry for a man, single 41^ pence. 

The following is quoted from page 15 of the records of the same meeting 
of June 25, 1799 : 

The court proceeded to vote for a place for the permanent seat of justice 
for the county of IMuhlenberg. A majority of all the justices concurring. 


it is ordered that Colonel William Campbell 's^ headright on Caney adjoin- 
ing the lands of the heirs of William Russell, deceased, be and is hereby 
fixed upon as the place for the permanent seat of justice for said county, 
and that the public buildings be erected at said place. 

Henry Rhoads, Charles Lewis, and William Bell were appointed com- 
missioners to prepare plans for a courthouse. 

The third county court took place on Tuesday, August 27, 1799, in the 
house of John Dennis. The minutes were signed by James Craig. The pro- 
ceedings are similar to the earlier meetings, wdth the additional feature of 
the filing of several applications to establish grist mills. On page 28 the 
record reads : 

The persons appointed for the purpose of exhibiting into court a plan 
for building the public building, which being examined and approved of is 
ordered to be recorded: "A memorandum of the dimensions of the court 
house of IMuhlenberg county, to be built of hewn logs seven inches thick, 
nine inches on the face or more, 26 feet by 18, seventeen feet high, a joint 
shingle roof put on with pegs, except the outside rows with nails, a joint 
plank floor and loft with a good staircase, the lower story twelve feet high 
with one door and three windows, a partition upstairs, a window in each 
room and shutters to each window, and a door, a judge's bench barred 
around, an attorney's bench barred around, also a sheriff's box, a clerk's 
table and seat. The cracks of the house to have shaved boards pegged in on 
the inside and daubbed in on the outside, and a sufficient number of jury 

Another paragraph informs us that "The court appointed Isaac Davis 
Esquire to build a stray pen on the public square two and thirty feet 
square, five feet high, to be finished by the fourth Tuesday in September, 

An entry written at this meeting concludes with the statement: "Satis- 
factory proof being made to the court that the said Benjamin lost a part of 
his left ear by a bite from the accused Mathew in a fight, which is ordered 
to be recorded." 

The fourth meeting is dated Tuesday, September 24, 1799. The fifth 
meeting was the last held at the Dennis house and took place on November 
26 and 27, 1799. The following is quoted from the proceedings of Novem- 
ber 26, 1799, page 49 (here the word Greenville makes its first appearance 
on the court records) : 

On the motion of William Campbell, and it appearing to the court that 
it will be advantageous to the public and it also appearing that legal notice 

2 Three other men named William Campbell were identified with the early his- 
tory of the county. 

The first of these was the William Campbell who came to Muhlenberg about 
1805, lived on the northwest corner of Main and Main Cross streets, and moved to 
Nashville about 1820. His daughter, Cynthia Campbell, married Samuel Campbell, 
son of Colonel William Campbell. They had no children. 

The second was the William Campbell who, with his brothers David and 
Charles, located west of Greenville about 1805. He moved to Illinois about 1835. 

The third William Campbell was a son of the above-mentioned David Campbell. 
He married a daughter of Benjamin Hancock, and about 1860 moved to Cali- 
fornia. Another of the sons of David Campbell was John Campbell, who was a 
tanner in Greenville for many years. ^ : 


having been given agreeably to law, it is ordered that a town be established 
on his land at the seat of justice in this county on Caney, including thirty 
acres of land to be called and known by the name of Greenville, whereupon 
the said William Campbell together with John Bradley and Charles Fox 
Wing, his securities, entered into and acknowledged their bond in the pen- 
alty of five hundred pounds, conditioned as the law directs. It is further 
ordered that the said town be vested in Samuel Russell, Alney McLean, 
Henry Rhoads, Charles Fox Wing, William Bradford and John Dennis, 
who are hereby nominated and appointed trustees of the said town of 
Greenville, agreeably to law. 

The fifth meeting ends with the statement that it is "Ordered that the 
next court be held at the town of Greenville, the Seat of Justice of this 
county. ' '3 

The sixth begins as follows: "At a county court held for Muhlenberg 
county at the house of Samuel Russell in the town of Greenville on Tuesday 
the 24th day of December, 1799." Among its many items is one showing 
that Samuel Russell was granted license to keep a tavern at his house in 

The seventh, dated Tuesday, January 28, 1800, also took place in the 
Russell house. One of the items, which is the first of its kind, reads : ' ' On 
the motion of the Reverend William Nexon, who produced credentials of his 
ordination and of his being in regular communion with the German Baptist 
Churoli who thereupon took the oath prescribed by law and together with 
John Culbertson, his security, entered into and acknowledged their bond as 
the law directs, license is thereupon granted him to solemnize the rites of 

The eighth meeting was the first to be held in the new log temple of jus- 
tice. Its record is headed: "At a county court held for Muhlenberg county 
at the court house on Tuesday the 25th day of February 1800." The new 
building, although occupied, had evidently not been completed, for the rec- 
ord of April 22, 1800, shows that "On the petition of the commissioners 
who were appointed to let the building of the court house of this county, 
ordered that leave be given the undertakers until the first day of August 
next to complete the same." 

At the meeting held on June 24, 1800, an entry was made relative to a 
jail: "Ordered that the sheriff pay Jacob Severs two hundred dollars for 
building the county jail, being a part of the price of said jail. " On August 
26, 1800, is recorded: "The court this day received the jail as built by Jacob 
Severs which is received and considered as the jail of the county. On the 
nomination of John Bradley, esquire, sheriff Samuell Russell was appointed 
jailor of this county." 

3 John Dennis, in whose house the first five county courts were held, was the 
father of a number of children. Among those who made Muhlenberg County their 
home was Abraham Dennis, who was born in 1784 and died near Greenville in 
1875. Abraham Dennis and his wife Tabitha (Rice) Dennis were the parents of 
eight girls and three boys, among whom was Alney McLean Dennis, who was born 
In 1822 and died in 1900. Alney McLean Dennis was the father of four children, 
one of whom is Robert A. Dennis, who is the father of William Rufus Dennis of 
Greenville, who in turn is the father of Master William McDavid Dennis, a great- 
great-great-grandson of pioneer John Dennis. 



The twelfth meeting is dated Tuesday, September 23, 1800. "The court 
received the court house of the undertakers as being done agreeably to their 
bond and it is ordered that the bond entered into by the said undertakers be 
destroyed. ' ' 

On the same date "A plan of the town of Greenville was exhibited into 
court and ordered to be recorded. ' ' The plan is recorded on page 75 of 
Transcribed Deed Book No. 1. The surveying was done by Alney McLean. 
He divided Colonel William Campbell's donation of thirty acres into fifty- 


Erected in 1836; the clerk's office (one-story brick house) was built in 1865. Both 

were demolished in 1906. The old stone jail is shown in the background, 

between the two brick buildings 

six lots, all of which lay in the vicinity of the two-acre public square. The 
proceeds from the sale of these lots was used to help defray the expense of 
building the new courthouse. The map shows the public square at the 
southeast corner of streets designated as j\lain Street and Main Cross Street. 
Running parallel with and east of Main Street are McLean and Water 
alleys, and parallel with and west of Main Street are Wing and Bradford 
alleys. Parallel with and south of Main Cross Street are Campbell and 
Wood alleys, and parallel with and north of Main Cross Street are Thomp- 
kins and Russell alleys. Adjoining the thirty-acre plot is another map, 
designating ten lots of five acres each. From one of these lots two acres are 
cut off for a graveyard, and five of the ten are granted to Alney McLean, 
the surveyor.* 

* James Craig, William Bell, and Peter Boggess, referred to in these early 
court meetings, were, like many of the others who participated in those meetings, 
among the well-known pioneers. 

Captain James Craig was a Revolutionary soldier, born in 1734, who came to 
Muhlenberg at an early date and died March 5, 1816. Among his children were: 


The second courthouse was built in 1834; so, leaving the intervening 
county court records untouched, I quote from Record Book No. 4, page 135, 
under date of January 27, 1834 : 

The persons appointed for that purpose report the situation of the court 
house of this county, at this court, upon the examination thereof, deem it in- 
expedient to make any repairs on the present building ; that it would be 
greatly to the public 's good to build a new house instead of repairing the 
old one, and a majority of all the justices in commission of the place being 
present and concurring therein, it is ordered that Edward Rumsey, Strother 
Jones, Charles Fox Wing, James Taggart and Wm. Hancock be and they 
are hereby appointed commissioners to draft a plan of a building for a new 
court house for the county and that they make a report thereof to the next 
county court. 

On page 139, under the date of March 31, 1834, the subject is continued 
as follows : 

The commissioners appointed for that purpose reported that they had 
drafted a plan for a new court house for this county, which being examined 
and accepted of by the court, it is therefore ordered that Ephraira M. 
Brank, Wm. Martin, Coroner R. D. McLean and Charles Fox Wing or any 
three of them be and they are hereby appointed commissioners to let to the 
lowest bidder the building or erecting of said house upon the ground where- 
on the present building stands, after giving due notice by advertising the 
same, which building is to be completed on or before the first day of August, 
]835, to be paid for by installments, that is to say, $500 to be paid as soon 
as the building shall be covered in, and the balance to be paid in two annual 
installments, payable out of the county levy, in such money as the said levy 
may be collected in, taking bond with approved security for the faithful 
performance of the work on said house with the said plan annexed. 

I did not find the plans annexed to this document. However, I will 
state that according to my memory the old l)rick courthouse was about 
thirty-two feet square and two stories high. The court room took up the en- 
tire lower floor, while the second was divided into three small rooms, 
reached by steps erected on the outside of the building against the south 

The contractor, after having almost finished a certain part of his work, 
was obliged to tear it down and rebuild it in order to comply with his agree- 
ment. This delayed matters, and the house was not finished "on or before 

Garland D., Mrs. Su&an S. (James H.) Wright, Mrs. Peggy (Reverend James) Tol- 
bert, and Mrs. Elizabeth (Thomas) Robinson. 

William Bell and his brothers Josiah, Robert, and Thomas Bell came to Muh- 
lenberg County about the year 1797. All of them became well-known men. Al- 
though the name of Bell is now extinct in the county, they are still represented 
by many descendants through their daughters. William Bell was born in 1768 
and died in 1826. 

Peter Boggess was a bachelor, a son of pioneer Richard Boggess, who came to 
Muhlenberg from Virginia about 1797 and settled near Pond Creek, above the 
Russellville Road, where he died about 1805. Richard Boggess was the father of 
Richard, jr., J. Warren, Joel, Peter, Robert, William, Lemuel, and Eli Boggess. 



the first day of Au^st, 1835." An entry on page 239 notes that a commis- 
sion was appointed "to examine the court house just finished by Wm. W. 
Hancock and receive the same if finished according to contract, and report 
to the next court. ' ' 

On November 28, ]836, it is recorded that the house was accepted. It 
may be well to add that the old log temple of justice stood a short distance 
north of the brick house, and was not torn down until after the second 
courthouse was occupied. The third or present structure stands on the site 
of the second. 

Built in 1864-65, and jailer's brick residence adjoining — abandoned and «i 

demolished in 1912 j 

In Record Book No. 8, page 13, June 24, 1865, is a record to the effect 
that Alfred Johnson had completed the stone work on the jail satisfactorily 
and it was ordered to be paid for. This building was used until December, 
1912. In this same volume, on page 78, is an entry showing that Finis M. 
Allison and Jesse H. Reno were awarded the contract for building a clerk's 
office on the site of the old one. This brick building was completed a few 
months later. The clerk's office was one story high and contained two 
rooms, each about eighteen feet square, with a hall six feet wide between 

The old brick courthouse and the clerk's office were torn down in 1906, 
and in their place now stands, not only a new courthouse, but one of the 
best and finest in the State. The first county court in the new building was 
held on "the last Monday" in September, 1907. Two metal tablets were 
placed in the front wall of the courthouse. One reads: "Erected A. D. 1907. 



E. 0. Pace, County Judge. W. 0. Belcher, County Attorney. Magistrates : 
E. T. Johns, J. W. Stuart, C. W. Cisney, Bryant Williams, 0. T. Kittinger. 

Bailey & Koerner, Contractors. 
Building Committee: T. J. Sparks, 

The other reads: "Erected A. D. 1907. 
Chairman, T. B. Pannell, W. G. Dun- 
can, J. W. Lam, W. A. Wickliffe. 
Architects, Kenneth McDonald and 
W. J. Dodd." A bench mark erected 
in 1911 by Charles W. Goodlove, of 
the United States Geological Survey, 
shows that the courthouse yard is 
568 feet above sea level. 

As stated in the beginning of this 
chapter, the first three meetings of 
the court of quarter sessions were 
held at the residence of John Dennis. 
The first justices of this court were 
William Campbell, Henry Rhoads, 
and William Worthington, ap- 
pointed by Governor James Garrard 
December 22, 1798. Charles Fox 
Wing was chosen clerk. The first 
meeting took place on May 28, 1799, 
and the third on October 22, 1799. 
The fourth and following meetings 
took place in the courthouse, William 
Worthington, John Dennis, and Charles Morgan usually presiding. The 
last session was held in the spring of 1803, and coincides with the establish- 
ing of the circuit court in the county. 

The first. grand jury impaneled for the court of quarter sessions met on 
July 23, 1799, and was composed of : Isaac Davis, foreman ; Henry Davis, 
William Cisna, Daniel Rhoads, jr., John Culbertson, Charles Lewis, Gilbert 
Vaught, Henry Keath, William Luce, George Brown, Benjamin Garris, 
Richard Nelson Alcock, William Hynes, John Cornwell, William McCom- 
raon, Thomas Bell, and Thomas Ward. They presented three indictments. 


^ John Edmunds Reno was a son of pioneer Lewis Reno, jr., and a grandson of 
pioneer Lewis Reno, sr., who settled at Kincheloe's Bluff about the year 1800. 
Another son of Lewis Reno, sr., was John Reno, the father of Lawson R. Reno, 
who for many years conducted the Reno House in Greenville. Lewis Reno, jr., 
married Sallie Xincheloe, a daughter of pioneer William Kincheloe. Lewis 
Reno, jr., was the father of five children, among whom were Jesse H. Reno and 
John Edmunds Reno. Jesse H. Reno was born in 1817 and died in 1895. He was 
a prominent man, held a number of offices, and was for many years in the mer- 
cantile business. 

John Edmunds Reno was born May 20, 1820. During his earlier business 
career he conducted a store and tobacco rehandling house in South Carrollton, and 
later ran a store in Greenville. He held various county offices. In 1852-53 he 
helped fill the unexpired term of Judge Godman. In 1874 and 1878 he was elected 
county clerk. His first wife, the mother of his three children, was Ademine 
Downer. To them were born: (1) Lewis Reno, banker, born June 25, 1847, died 
April 25, 1906, and who in 1870 married Mary Short, daughter of Jonathan Short; 

(2) Lizzie Reno, who married Judge William H. Yost, son of Doctor W. H. Yost; 

(3) Sue Reno, who married C. W. Short, son of Jonathan Short. 



The first petit jury of the court of quarter sessions was impaneled on 
March 25, 1800, and was composed of : Charles Lewis, David Rhoads, Demp- 
sey Westbrook, David Robertson, John Cornwall, Isaac Rust, John Keath, 
John Culbertson, Jesse Littlepage, IMatthew IMcLean, William Boggess, and 
Daniel Rhoads. Their first case 
was that of ''Commonwealth 
against Andrew Hays." The 
judgment shows that Hays was 
charged with assaulting Richard 
Nelson Alcock, and was fined 
"twelve dollars besides cost." 

From the first day's record 
of the first meeting of the cir- 
cuit court I quote : 

March Term, 1803: At the 

courthouse of Muhlenberg 

county on Monday the 21st day 

of March 1803. 

Pursuant to an Act of the 

Assembly passed the 20th 

day of December 1802 entitled 

an "Act to establish Circuit 

Courts," and an Act to amend 

an Act entitled an "Act to es- 
tablish Circuit Courts passed 

the 24th day of December swilliam h. yost, 1912 

1802." A commission was produced from his Excellency the Gov- 
ernor directed to William Worthington and William Bell, Esquires, ap- 
pointing them Assistant Judges in and for tlie IMuhlenberg Circuit. And 
they also produced a certificate of their having taken .the oath of office, they 
having heretofore taken the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States and also the oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth, which certificate 
reads as follows, to wit : 

"Muhlenberg County, Set: I do hereby certify that William Worthing- 
ton and William Bell this day came before me, one of the Justices of the 
peace for said County, and took the oath of Assistant Judges for the 
Muhlenberg Circuit, they having heretofore taken the oath to the United 
States and the oath of fidelity to the Commonwealth, ]\Iarch the 21st 1803. 

William Garrard. ' ' 

^ Judge William H. Yost was born in Greenville April 17, 1849. He is a son of 
Doctor William H. Yost and Mary Jane Brank, who was a daughter of Ephraim M. 
Brank and a granddaughter of Colonel William Campbell, the founder of Green- 
ville. Judge Yost, after attending school in Greenville, finished his education at 
Kentucky University, Lexington. In 1870 he began the practice of law in Green- 
ville, where he was associated with Joseph Ricketts. He was county attorney 
from 1870 to 1875. From 1890 to 1895 he served as judge of the Superior Court of 
Kentucky. In 1903 he moved to Madisonville, where he now lives. He is a mem- 
ber of the law firm of Yost & Laffoon, who have offices in Madisonville and Green- 
ville. No lawyer in Western Kentucky is better known; none is more highly es- 
teemed or more closely identified with Muhlenberg's courts and courthouses than 
Judge Yost. 



And thereupon a court was held for said Circuit. 

Present : The Honorable William Worthington and William Bell. 

The Court appointed Charles Fox Wing clerk pro tern to the Muhlen- 
berg Circuit Court who thereupon took the Oath of Office, he having here- 
tofore taken the oath to the United States and also the oath of fidelity to the 

Erected 1907 

Commonwealth and together with Sam'l Caldwell and Jesse Reno, his se- 
curities, executed bond in the penalty of One thousand pounds, conditioned 
as the law directs. 

The Court appointed Christopher Tompkins, Esquire, attorney for the 
Commonwealth in the Muhlenberg Circuit. 

Sam'l Caldwell, Sam'l Work, Henry Davidge, Robert Coleman, Matthew 
Lodge, Christopher Tompkins, Reason Davidge, John Davis, James H. Mc- 
Laughlen and John A. Cape, Gentlemen, were on their motion admitted to 
practice as attorneys at law in this Court who produced a License as re- 
quired by Law and thereupon they severally took the oath of office, they 


having heretofore taken the oath to support the Constitution of the United 
States and also the Oath of Fidelity to the Commonwealth. 

William Hynes, foreman, Charles Crouch, Jacob Studebaker, Thomas 
Dennis, Solomon Rhoads, Rob't Robertson, William Roark, William Bau- 
giis, Jacob Taylor, John Keath, John Cain, Sam'l Weir, John Cargle, 
Thomas Littlepage, Dempsey Westbrook, Jacob Severs, John Stom, Jesse 
Jackson and Edmund Owens were sworn a Grand Jury for the body of this 
Circuit, who after having received their charge retired from the bar to con- 
sult, &c., and after some time returned into Court & having nothing to pre 
sent were discharged. . . . 

Ordered that Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 of the 
Clock. Wm. Worthington. 

The first petit jury impaneled for the circuit court served at the March 
term, 1803, and was composed of : Samuel Handley, John Dennis, David 
Casebier, David Robertson, Thomas Bell, Thomas Littlepage, Thomas Ran- 
dolph, Henry Unsell, George Nott, Henry Davis, Jacob Anthony, and Philip 
Stom. The first case tried was that of ' ' The Commonwealth against Peter 
Acre, sometimes called Acrefield." Peter Acrefield was charged with as- 
sault, and was fined "one penny besides costs." 

William Worthington or William Bell, with Christopher Greenup or 
Ninian Edwards, presided over the three sessions of the circuit court that 
followed. Judge Henry P. Broadnax, of Logan County, was next appointed 
circuit judge, and served from June, 180-^, to March, 1819. Up to 18L5 two 
associate judges in each county sat with the presiding judge, and William 
Worthington and William Bell usually acted in that capacity. Judge 
Broadnax was succeeded by Judge Benjamin Shackelford, who served from 
March, 1819, to September, 1821. He was succeeded by Judge Alney Mc- 
Lean, of Greenville, who served from 1821 to 1841, the time of his death. 
Judge John Calhoun served from 1842 until the new Constitution displaced 
him in 1851." 

■^ Of the five men who were appointed and served as circuit judges previous to 
the adoption of the Constitution of 1850, one, Judge Alney McLean, was a citizen 
of Muhlenberg. The other four here named were, like Judge McLean, among the 
hest-known men in Western Kentucky: 

Ninian Edwards was a son of Hayden Edwards, of Prince William County, Vir- 
ginia, who afterward moved to Kentucky. In 1796 and 1797 Ninian Edwards rep- 
resented Nelson County in the State L^egislature. In 1798 he moved to Logan 
County. In 1806, at the age of thirtj^-one, he became Chief Justice of Kentucky. 
In 1809 he was appointed Governor of Illinois Territory, and held that office until 
1818, when Illinois became a State. He was United States Senator from 1818 to 
1824, and in 1826 was elected Governor of Illinois for four years. He died in 1833. 
His son, Ninian W. Edwards of Springfield, Illinois, married the sister of Abraham 
Lincoln's wife, became one of his most intimate friends, and supplied Lincoln's 
biographers with much data regarding him. 

Judge Henry F. Broadnax was a native of Virginia, and came to Kentucky in 
his youth. He lived In Logan County, where he died in 1857, aged about ninety. 
He was an accomplished man and an able judge. Mrs. Chapman Coleman, in her 
■"Life of John J. Crittenden" says: "Judge Broadnax was a stately, high-toned 
Virginia gentleman, who dressed in shorts, silk stockings, and top boots. He had 
an exalted sense of the dignity of the court, and a great contempt for meanness, 
rascality, and all low rowdyism." 

Judge Benjamin Shackelford was a son of Benjamin Shackelford, and was born 
in Virginia, April 24, 1780. In 1802 he located in Lexington, where he practiced law 



Prior to 1850 the circuit judges were appointed by the Governor. Since 
that time the following elected circuit judges have served : Judge Jesse "W. 
Kincheloe, of Hardinsburg, 1851-1856; Judge George B. Cook, of Hender- 
son, 1856 ; Judge Thomas C. Dabney, of Cadiz, 1857-1862 ; Judge R. T. Pe- 
tree, of Hopkinsville, 1862-1868 ; Judge George C. Rogers, of Bowling 

Erected 1912 

Green, 1868-1870; Judge Robert C. Bowling, of Russellville, 1870-1880; 
Judge John R. Grace, of Cadiz, 1880-1892; Judge Willis L. Reeves, of Elk- 
ton, 1893-1897; Judge I. Herschel Goodnight, of Franklin, 1898-1901; 
Judge Samuel R. Crewdson, of Russellville, 1901-1903; Judge William P. 
Sandidge, of Russellville, from 1904. 

until 1807, when he moved to Christian County. In 1815 he was appointed circuit 
judge in the judicial district which embraced Christian County (which for a few 
years included Muhlenberg), and served in that capacity uninterruptedly until the 
adoption ol' the Constitution of 1850 — a period of thirty-six years. Few men in 
Kentucky occupied the circuit bench longer than he. It is said that during that 
time fewer of his decisions were reversed by the higher courts than any other 
judge's in the State. He died in Hopkinsville, April 29, 1858. His two sons were 
Richard and Doctor Charles Shackelford. General James M. Shackelford, of the 
Federal army, who spent the early part of his life in Hopkins County, was a mem- 
ber of another branch of the Shackelford family. 

Judge John Calhoun was born in Henry County in 1797, and shortly after came 
to the Green River country with his father. In 1820 and 1821 he represented Ohio 
County in the Legislature. About 1825 he moved to Breckinridge County and rep- 
resented that county in the Legislature a number of times. He was a member of 
Congress from 1835 to 1839. In 1841 he was appointed circuit judge by Governor 
Letcher. He was a good orator and an accomplished lawyer. Calhoun, the county 
seat of McLean, was named in his honor. 



The following have served as circuit clerks : Charles Fox Wing, 1851- 
1856 ; Jesse II. Reno, 1856-1868 ; Nat J. Harris, 1868-1880 ; Doctor George 
W. Townes, 1880-1892; Thomas E. Sumner, 1893-1903; Clayton S. Curd, 
from 1904. 

Prior to the adoption of the Third Constitution all county officers were 
appointed. Up to that time none of the officers of the State, with the 
exception of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, members of the Legis- 
lature, electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, and 
members of Congress were voted for by the people. The manner of filling 
offices in cities and towns was regulated by their charters. Trustees of 
towns were either appointed by the county courts or elected by the people. 
The Legislature controlled the subject, and the regulation of the subject 
was by no means uniform. The reader curious on this subject is referred 
to the State Constitution of 1799. From 1850 to 1890 the general elections 
for county and State officers were held on the first Monday in August. 
Since 1890 such elections have taken place on the first Tuesday after the 
first Monday in November. The following county judges, county attorneys, 
county clerks, jailers, and sheriffs have served Muhlenberg since 1850 : 

County Judges, Attorneys, Clerks, and Jailers. 






1858-62 _ 
1866-70 _ 
1870-74 _ 
1874-78 _ 

J.W. I. Godman^ 
Wm. G. Jones 

Ben J. Shaver 

S. P. Love 

J. C. Thompson.. 

John H.Morton.. 

Q. B. Coleman 

D. J. Fleming 

T. J. Sparks. ^._ 

R. O. Pace. 
Jas. J. Rice. 

Joseph Ricketts 

B. E. Pittman 

Wm. H. Yost..'.'.-- 

Eugene Eaves 

W. Briggs McCown 
W. A. Wickliffe. ... 
W. Briggs McCown 
M. J. Roark 

J. L. Rogers 

W. O. Belcher- ^"^ 
T. O. Jones 

Wm. H. C. Wing. 
Jesse H. Reno 

T. J. Jones 

Thomas Bruce 

J. Ed Reno 

W. T. Stiles. ".']^- 

Joe G. Ellison 

Ed S. Wood.."^^' 

F. L. Lewis 

H. L. Kirkpatrick 

Sam H. Dempsey. 

James Simpson. 
John L. Williams. 
W. D. Shelton. 
John M. Williams. 
John S. Miller. 

John Coombs. 

R. H. Lyon. 

Wm. T. Miller. 

Geo. M. York. 

County Sheriffs. 



Wm. Harbin. 
Ben J. Shaver. 
H. D. Rothrock. 
Moses Wickliffe. ^ 
J. P. Mclntire. 
Wm. Irvin. 
Tom M. Morgan. 
C. B. Wickliffe. 
W. A. Mohorn. 



Geo. 0. Prowse. 
Alex Tinsley. 











T. B. Pannell. 
M. L. Prowse. 
D. T. Hill. 


W. H. Welsh. 


W. D. Blackwell. 


J. A. Shaver. 


T. L. Roll. 

^Judge Godman died December, 1852, and his unexpired term was filled by John 
Edmunds Reno and Joseph Ricketts. 

*W. Briggs McCown died in 1889 and his unexpired term was filled by John Allison. 

^Moses Wickliffe resigned in 1861 and his unexpired term was filled by S. D. Chatham 
and John Jenkins. 


NO NAME is better known in Muhlenberg than that of Weir. James 
Weir, sr., was a pioneer merchant and the founder of a family 
whose history is closely interwoven with all the history of the 
county. James Weir, sr., was a son of William Weir, a Revolu- 
tionary soldier of Scotch-Irish descent. He was a surveyor by profession, 
and in 1798, at the age of twenty-one, came to Muhlenberg on horseback 
from his home at Fishing Creek, South Carolina. This trip was the first of 
his many long horseback journeys, and extended over a period of eight 

While on this expedition in search of a place to begin his career he spent 
some of his time writing sketches and poems bearing directly or indirectly 
on the places he visited. His account of this trip to Muhlenberg he himself 
styles "James AVeir's Journal: Some of James Weir's travels and other 
things that might be of interest." 

The old journal is still preserved, and although it throws very little light 
on the history of Muhlenberg, his observations, made in the Green River 
country and elsewhere, show the character of a young man who, imme- 
diately after his arrival in the county, became one of its most influential cit- 
izens. He evidently idled away no time on this trip, and the same may also 
be said of his entire journey through life. His first entry in the journal be- 
gins : '"^March 3, 1798, I set out from South Carolina, the land of my nativ- 
ity, with the intention to explore the western climes," He gives a graphic 
description of the country through which he passed on his way to Eastern 
Tennessee. Writing of his short stay in Knoxville, he says : "In the infant 
town of Knox the houses are irregular and interspersed. It was County day 
when I came, the to^^'n was confused with a promiscuous throng of every 
denomination. Some talked, some sang and mostly all did profanely swear. 
T stood aghast, my soul shrunk back to hear the horrid oaths and dreadful 
indignities offered to the Supreme Governor of the Universe, who, with one 
frown is able to shake them into non-existence. There was what I never did 
see before, viz., on Sunday dancing, singing and playing of cards, etc. . . . 
It was said by a gentleman of the neighborhood that 'the Devil is grown so 
old that it renders him incapable of traveling, and that he has taken up in 
Knoxville and there hopes to spend the remaining part of his days in tran- 
quillity, as he believes he is among his friends,' but as it is not a good prin- 
ciple to criticise the conduct of others, I shall decline it with this general re- 
flection, that there are some men of good principles in all places, but often 
more bad ones to counterbalance them. ' ' 



These few lines show that although Mr. Weir thought the ' ' infant town 
of Knox" was a very wicked place he, nevertheless, did not wholly condemn 
it. From Knoxville he rode to Nashville, where he remained a few months 
and where he "kept school at the house of Colonel Thomas Ingles, a gen- 
tleman of distinguished civility." Before leaving Tennessee he wrote: 

Thinks I, is this that 
promised land? Is this 
that noble Tennessee whose 
great fame has filled the 
mouths and fired the 
breaths of many through 
the different states ? If so, 
I do not doubt your fame 
is more than you are in 
reality, which is commonly 
the case of new countries. 
... I have now traveled 
six months in the state of 
Tennessee and have set out 
for Kentucky. . . . 

On the 8th day of Oc- 
tober, 1799, I crossed the 
Clinch River and there 
took to the Wilderness, 
which is 95 miles without 
a house or inhabitant. I 
met two gentlemen who 
proved very good company 
through this lonely wilder- 
ness. This wilderness land 
belongeth to the Indians, 
who will not suffer any- 
body to settle on it. The 
land is for the most part 
barren and mountainous. After three days' travel we arrived into Cumber- 
land, a Country whose fertility of soil and pleasant situation I could not 
pass over, without particular attention. This country is well settled with 

Having tarried there a few days in a friend's house, I passed over into 
the state of Kentucky and travelled through some of the lower parts, viz., 
on Green River and Red River. This country is for the most part newly 
settled, their buildings and farms but small. Some live by hunting only, 
which explore the solitary retreats of the wild bear and buffalo. Others, be- 
ing more industrious, cultivate the soil, though not as properly as they 
might for want of implements. The land yields exceedingly well, corn, 
wheat, cotton and all other grains and plants common to the southern states. 
The latitude is nearly the same as that of North Carolina. 

The range for cattle is good in the summer and for hogs I suppose it is 
equal to any in the world. There are low flats and marshes which overflow 
at certain seasons which after the water is departed make excellent range 
for hogs. I saw a gentleman here who from four of a stock raised 200 head 




in three years. These flats lie along on Green River and up some of the 
creeks that empty into it. They would produce rice or grass, I think, very 
well, and in some places corn, as she does not overflow in the summer season. 
It is thought that near to these flats it will be sickly on account of vapours 
and thick fogs which exhale from them and which also breed numbers of 
mosquitoes which infect the inhabitants even unto their houses. It is 

thought when the country 
is settled they will be done 

Green River is navi- 
gable all seasons of the 
year for large boats, which 
may pass to and from 
Illinois and from thence 
to the Atlantic Ocean. It 
is thought that it will be a 
place of great trade in 
time to come. 

Here I made a stop 
again, and kept school six 
m n t h s in Muhlenberg 
county on this River, in a 
Dutch settlement. Some of 
them are of distinguished 
kindness. Their profession 
is Dunkards and Baptists. 
They appear to be very 
sincere, God only knows 
their hearts. 

First Wife of Pioneer James Weir, about 1825 

The journal ends with 
this brief statement rela- 
tive to his first six months in I\Iuhlenberg. He evidently found the place 
that pleased him and therefore settled in Muhlenberg and closed his story 
of the trip he made in search of the promised land. 

Pioneer James Weir arrived in Muhlenberg County about the time the 
county was formed. He took an active part in the first county court meet- 
ings and also helped Alney McLean lay out the town of Greenville and did 
much toward the moral and commercial development of the community. 
He was instrumental in getting a number of people to settle in the countj'. 
His sister, Jane AVeir, and her husband, pioneer Joseph Poag,i and his 
brother, Samuel 'Weir,^ who lived and died near Paradise, were, like him, 
influential persons. 

1 Pioneer and Mrs. Joseph Poag were the parents of six children, all of whom 
were well known in the county: Miss Parthenia; Mrs. Jane (Isaac) Clifford; Mrs. 
Elizabeth (Christian) Vaught; Mrs. Anna (James) Rothrock; Mrs. Margaret 
(Joseph) Mclntire, and James W. Poag, who married Angeline E. Solomon. 

2 Pioneer Samuel Weir was born in South Carolina in 1769 and died near Para- 
dise in 1830. His farm was one of the best-managed places in the county. It was 
at his home that his mother, Mrs. Susan Weir, died. On the marble slab marking 
her grave are no dates; the well-carved inscription reads simply, "Susan Weir, the 
Best of Mothers." Sam.uei Weir married Elizabeth Vanlandingham, sister of 



He was the first merchant and banker in Greenville. His business in- 
creased very rapidly in the new town, and he soon established another store 
at Lewisburg or Kincheloe's Bluff. In the course of time he conducted mer- 
cantile houses in Henderson, Hopkinsville, Morganfield, Madisonville, and 
Russellville. He also had a store in Shawneetown, Illinois. But Greenville, 
from the time of its beginning, 
was his home and headquarters. 

James Weir bought practically 
all his merchandise in Philadel- 
phia, to which place he made more 
than a dozen trips on horseback, 
accompanied by no one except his 
faithful body-servant Titus. Most 
of his goods were transported in 
wagons to Pittsburgh and thence 
by boat down the Ohio on their 
way to his various stores. The 
boxes intended for Muhlenberg 
County were sent up Green River, 
unloaded at Lewisburg, and then 
hauled on wagons to Greenville. 
These wagons were always at the 
river landing when the freight ar- 
rived, but the teamsters were often 
obliged to wait many days for the 
expected boats. Mr. and Mrs. Weir 
made a number of trips together 
to the Eastern market. On one oc- 
casion they bought some of the 

best furniture for sale in Philadelphia. They transported it to Pittsburgh 
and there unpacked it, furnished their own stateroom, and used it while 
traveling down the Ohio and up Green River to Lewisburg and then sent it 
to their home in Greenville. 

He made many trips down the Mississippi to New Orleans, from which 
place he returned to Greenville either via land or via ocean boat to Philadel- 
phia, where after making his purchases he continued his journey by land 
and river. He wrote an account of a trip taken in 1803, giving his experi- 
ence while traveling down the ]\tississippi, then via ocean and up the Dela- 
ware to Philadelphia. It is an interesting story and is quoted in full in an 
appendix to this history. One of the ledgers kept in his Greenville store 
about 1814 is still preserved and is described in the chapter on "Life in the 
Olden Days." 

James Weir was born in South Carolina in 1777 and died in Greenville 
on August 9, 1845. His first wife, Anna Cowman Rumsey, mother of his 

EDWARD K. WEIR, SR., 1875 

pioneer Oliver C. Vanlandingham. They were the parents of seven children: 
Elizabeth, who was married to Isaac Roll; Susan, to T. J. Rice; Nancy, to Elijah 
Smith; Margaret, to O. C. Vanlandingham, jr.; Esther, to Josiah Maddox, and 
Samuel M., to Elizabeth B. Vanlandingham. Samuel M. Weir was born in 1826 
and died near Paradise in 1908. 



children, was born in 1792 and died in 1838. She was a daughter of Doc- 
tor Edward Riimsey (of Christian County), who was a brother of James 
Rumsey, the inventor. Doctor Edward Rurasey was the father of eight 
children, four of whom are identified with Muhlenberg history : the Honor- 
able Edward Rumsey ; Anna C. Rumsey, who married James Weir, sr. ; 
Harriet Rumsey, who married Samuel IMiller, and whose only child, Harriet 
R. Miller, married Edward R. Weir, sr. ; and Emily Rumsey, who married 
Richard Elliott, of Hartford, Kentucky. 

James Weir was the father of five children : 

(1) Edward Rumsey Weir, sr., 
who, as just stated, married Har- 
riet R. Miller. Mr. and Mrs. Ed- 
ward R. Weir and their children 
are referred to in this and other 

(2) James Weir, jr., of Owens- 
horo, who married Susan C. Green. 
He was a banker, la^vyer, and well- 
known writer. Among his books 
is "Lonz Powers." A review of 
this work is given in another chap- 
ter, where also appears a biog- 
raphy of the author. 

(3) Sallie Ann Weir, who mar- 
ried Edward R. Elliott, a son of 
pioneer Richard Elliott, Mr. and 
Mrs. PJdward R. Elliott moved to 
Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1851. 
They were the parents of Edward, 
Richard, Frank, J. Weir, and 
Henry Elliott, and Mrs. Anna R. 
(William S.) De^dne. 

(4) Susan M. Weir, who mar- 
ried Professor William L. Green. Professor Green, as stated in the chapter 
on "Post-Primary Education," was one of the first promoters of higher 
education in jMuhlenberg. 

(5) Emily Weir, who married Samuel M. Wing, son of Charles Fox 
Wing. The names of their children are given in the chapter on "Charles 
Fox Wing." 

Of the elder James Weir's five children only one, Edward R. Weir, sr., 
lived in Greenville all his life. Edward R. Weir, sr., was born in Greenville 
on November 29, 1816, and died February 5, 1891. He was an influential 
merchant, lawyer, and politician, a slave-holder, an abolitionist, and a 
strong Union man. He was wealthy and charitable ; always active in church 
work and in the elevation of his fellow-men. Nearly every act of his life 
was directed toward the moral and commercial good of Muhlenberg County. 
He represented the county in the State Legislature in 1841, 1842, and in 
1863-65. In 1848 he built, on Caney Creek, a mile north of Greenville, the 
first steam saw and grist mill in the county. 




The large brick residence erected by Edward R. Weir, sr., about the year 
1840, on South Main Street near the foot of Hopkinsville Street, was in its 
day one of the best-built homes in the county. It not only afforded him 
and his family every possible comfort, but stood as an example of what en- 
terprise can do. He dug what is probably the most symmetrical stone-lined 
well ever made in Kentucky. The 
brick cabins built for his slaves, 
and the greenhouses and icehouse, 
have been torn down, but the 
solid old residence and hexagon- 
shaped office near it still show- 
that what Edward R. Weir, sr., 
did he did well. 

He was also an author. 
Among the articles written by 
him are "A Visit to the Faith 
Doctor," published in the West- 
ern Magazine, of Cincinnati, in 
November, 1836, and "A Random 
Sketch by a Kentuckian, E. R. 
W." describing a deer hunt, 
which appeared in the March, 
1839, issue of the Knickerbocker 
Magazine, and are here reviewed 
in one of the appendices. These 
sketches pertain to some of his 
experiences in Muhlenberg 
County. Some time during the 
'40s of the last century he 
wrote a short history of the 
Harpes, which it is said was published in the Saturday Evening Post of 
Philadelphia. Although I have tried to obtain a copy of this article, I have 
failed to do so. If printed, it probably appeared under some assumed name 
and under a heading other tlian ' ' The Harpes. ' ' 

Harriet Rumsey (Miller) Weir, wife of Edward R. Weir, sr., was born 
in Christian County March 16, 1822. Mrs. Weir came to Greenville in early 
youth and lived there for three quarters of a century, when, after the death 
of her son Max Weir, she moved to Jacksonville, Illinois. Few Muhlenberg 
women were better known in their day than Mrs. Weir. She took an active 
interest in her husband's affairs, and always helped him in his business and 
in his various efforts to do good. During the last fifty years of her life she 
was generally referred to as Lady Weir, for all who knew her real- 
ized that she was a noble woman in every sense of the word. She died at the 
home of her son Miller Weir on February 16, 1913, and is buried at Green- 
ville. The day after her funeral the Greenville Record said : ' ' Her long 
life w-as an active one, spent in simpleness and goodness. She was a 
brilliant woman ; in manner, ever kind and attentive. She was one of the 
most loved women in the whole county. Her religious activities were varied 
and effective, doing much in that line without show or ostentation." 

E. R. WEIR (COLONEL), IN 1865 



Five of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Edward R. Weir, sr., reached 
maturity : 

(1) Edward Rumsey Weir, jr. (better known as Colonel E. R. Weir), 
was born Au^st 13, 1839, and died xAlareh 30, 1906. After the close of the 
Civil War, Colonel Weir became a merchant in Greenville and later a lead- 
ing lawyer. Eliza T. Johnson, 
daughter of Doctor John M, 
Johnson, was his first, wife and 
the mother of his children, who 
were : Frank Weir, who was 
killed September 19, 1890, in 
Eastern Kentucky while in the 
revenue service ; Jerome Weir, of 
the U. S. Army; Harry Weir, of 
Greenville, who married Ruth 
Grundy; Louise B. Weir, who 
married W. D. Reeves, and Anna 
C. Weir, who married Max Layne. 
Colonel Weir's second wdfe was 
Alice Culbertson, of the State of 
New York, to whom he was mar- 
ried in 1898. 

(2) Anna C. Weir, who mar- 
ried David W. Eaves, a son of 
Sanders Eaves. Their children 
are: Elliott, Lucian, Lucile, Har- 
riet, Ruth, and Belle Eaves. 

(3) Miller Weir, who early in 
life settled in Jacksonville, Illi- 
nois. He is a banker and is identified with the politics of Illinois. He mar- 
ried Fannie Bancroft. Their only child, Fanita, married Edward P. Brock- 
house, a banker and lawyer of Jacksonville. 

(4) Virginia Weir, who died at the age of sixteen. 

(5) Max Weir, who was born December 23, 1863, and died May 18, 
1904. He was a bachelor, a popular merchant in Greenville, a devout Chris- 
tian, and a local and State Y. M. C. A. worker. In 1899 he wrote "From 
the Father's Country," a pamphlet of a religious character, which was pub- 
lished shortly after his death. 

MAX WEIR, IN 1900 



WHEN on June 18, 1812, war against Great Britain was declared 
by the United States, no State responded to the call for volun- 
teers more readily than did Kentucky. The second war with 
England lasted over two and a half years, during which time 
three companies that presented themselves for service were organized in 
Muhlenberg. Most of the men in these three organizations were citizens of 
the county. From the "Roster of Volunteer Officers and Soldiers from Ken- 
tucky in the War of 1812-15," compiled in 1891 by Samuel E. Hill, Adju- 
tant-General of Kentucky, I copy the following list of officers and privates 
of these three companies and also the dates as there recorded. These names 
are here given as printed in the roster, although many of them are evidently 
misspelled. The only additions I have made to this record are the notes 
stating that Captain Kincheloe's company took part in the battle of the 
Thames, and that Captain McLean's company fought in the battle of New 

Roll of Captain Alney McLean's Company. 

In First Regiment Kentucky Mounted ^Militia, commanded by Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Samuel Caldwell. 

Enlisted September 18, 1812. Engaged to October 30, 1812. 

Alney McLean, Captain. 
Charles Campbell, Lieutenant. 
Jere S. Cravens, Ensign. 
William Oates, Sergeant. 
Parmenas Redman, Sergeant. 
Thomas Glenn, Sergeant. 

James Martin, Sergeant. 
John Ferguson, Corporal. 
John January, Corporal. 
Moses F. Glenn, Corporal. 
John C. Milligan, Corporal. 
John Earle, Trumpeter. 

Ash, James 
Anthony, Jacob 
Bond, Cornelius 
Bennett, John 
Bower, Jacob 
Campbell, William, sr. 
Campbell, William, jr. 
Cummings, Moses 
Conditt, Moses P. 
Carter, William 
Cochran, Bryant 
Da^'is, William 


Dennis, Abraham 
Dudley, Robert 
Everton, Thomas 
Edmonds, George 
Everton, James 
Evans, John 
Foster, Thomas 
Good, John 

Gillingham, Jno. B. C. 
Hewlett, Alfred 
Hemman, George 
Hines, Isaac 

Houser, Christopher 
Harrison, Isaac 
Hunsinger, George 
Hill, William 
Jarvis, Simon 
Langley, John W. 
Luce, David 
Lynn, George 
Morton, William 
McFerson, John 
Maxwell, Robert 
Martin, Samuel 



Nunn, John 
Robertson, Robert 
Rice, Samuel 
Salsbury, Thomas 
Sanders, George 

Stroud, John 
Skillraan, James 
Stanley, Mark 
Tyler, Charles 
Thompson, Philip 

Todd, William 
Vaught, Abraham 
Winlock, Joseph 
Wilkins, Bryant 
Young, Benjamin 

Roltj of Captain Lewis Kincheloe's Company. 

In Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, commanded by Colonel Wil- 
liam Williams. 

Enlisted at Newport, Kentucky, September 11, 1813. 

(This company took part in the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813.) 

Lewis Kincheloe, Captain. 
Charles F. Wing, Lieutenant. 

John Dobyns, Ensign. 
John W. Langley, Corporal. 


Baldwin, Herbert W. 
Brown, Frederick 
Butler, Samuel 
Culbertson, Robert W. 
Davis, Randolph 
Davis, William 
Drake, Mosly 
Graves, John C. 
Ham, David 
Harris,. Richard 
Haws, John 
Hill, Asa 

Hill, John 
Hill, William 
McFerson, John 
Miller, George 
]\Iurphy, Samuel 
Nefie, Henry 
O'Neal, Spencer 
Pace, Daniel 
Pace, Joel 
Penrod, George 
Row, Henry 

Redman, Parmenas 
Roark, William 
Raco, Henry 
Segler, Jacob 
Shelton, John 
Smith, Hugh 
Uzzell, Thomas 
Wilcox, Thomas 
Worthington, Isaac 
Jones, Fielding 
Langley, James 

Roll of Captain Alney McLean's Company. 

In Kentucky Detached Militia, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wil- 
liam Mitchusson, 

Enlisted November 20, 1814. Engaged to May 20, 1815. 

(This company took part in the battle of New Orleans. Januarv 8, 

Alney McLean, Captain. 
Ephraim M. Brank, Lieutenant. 
William Alexander, Lieutenant. 
Isaac Davis, Ensign. 
John Stull, Sergeant. 
Henry Nusell, Sergeant. 
Enoch Metcalf, Sergeant. 

Jordon O'Brien, Sergeant. 
James Langley, Corporal. 
]\Ioses Matthews, Corporal. 
Edward H. Tarrants, Corporal. 
George Hill, Corporal. 
Abner B. C. Dillingham, Fifer. 

Apling, Henry 
Anderson, John 
Anderson, John, jr. 
Allen, Linsey 
Allison, McLean 
Bishop, James 
Barker, Samuel 


Bone, Cornelius 
Bonds, Lott 
Carter, James 
Craig, John 
Combs, Jesse 
Cob, Elijah 
Craig, Robert 

Crouch, Isaac 
Claxton, Jeremiah 
Dewitt, William 
Donnald, James 
Evans, James 
Ferguson, John K. 
Foley, Mason 



Fox, Nathan 
Fowler, Jeremiah 
Gany, Matthew 
Gant, Thomas 
Gamblin, John 
Grayham, William 
Hewlett, Thomas 
Hubbard, Liner 
Hines, John 
Howard, Isaac 
Hensley, Leftridge 
Hewlett, Lemuel 
Janis, Edward 
Kern, George 
Kennedy, George F. 

Lott, James 
Lynn, Gashara 
Lynn, Henry 
Leece, Samuel 
McGill, James 
Moore, Thomas 
Matthews, Jacob 
McFerson, James 
Martin, John 
Macons, Peter 
Nanny, Spencer 
Norris, Thomas 
Nixon, James 
Penrod, George 
Ripple, Michael Jr. 

Rx)w, Adam 
Ripple, Jacob 
Rhodes, Bradford 
Sever, Michael 
Sumner, Thomas 
Sumner, William 
Sunn, John F. 
Sanders, George 
Voris, John 
Wilcox, Elias 
Williams, Noah 
Wade, Hendley 
Wilson, John 
Williams, William 
Yaunce, Lawrence 

A century has passed since the War of 1812 began. It is said that for 
many years after this war accounts of daring deeds performed by Muhlen- 
berg men were told by the soldiers who participated in some of the battles. 
With the exception of a few, all of these old stories, although handed down 
for a generation or two, are now forgotten. INIost of the men who saw serv- 
ice in the second war with England 
passed away before the close of the 
Civil War. George Penrod, who died 
January 22, 1892, at the age of about 
one hundred, was the last of the 
Muhlenberg veterans of 1812.1 

Practically all that is now told in 
local traditions of this war forms part 
of the story of the life of eight well- 
known local men: Larkin N. Akers, 
who ran the gantlet after the battle of 
the River Raisin; Charles Fox Wing 
and Mosley Collins Drake, who took 
part in the battle of the Thames ; Eph- 
raim M. Brank, Alney McLean, Isaac 
Davis, Joseph C. Reynolds, and Mich- 
ael Severs, who took part in the battle 
of New Orleans. 

Larkin Nicholls Akers came to 
Greenville about twenty-five years 
after his miraculous escape at River 
Raisin. He was a private in a company organized in Central Kentucky, 
where he lived at the time he enlisted. The famous massacre of River Raisin 
took place in Michigan on January 23, 1813, and was one of the most cruel 
and bloody acts recorded in all our history. The American forces, mainly 


1 George Penrod was a son of Tobias Penrod, who about 1800 settled near what 
has since been called Penrod. George Penrod was the father of Lot, David, 
Samuel, William, Leander, Thomas, and Martin Penrod and Mrs. Nancy (David) 



Kentuckians, after fighting a fierce battle against a superior number of 
British soldiers and their Indian allies, surrendered under promise of pro- 
tection from the Indians. But the British made no attempt to carry out 
their promise. On the contrary, they encouraged the bloodthirsty Indians 
by offering them pay for all the scalps they would bring in. The unpro- 
tected and defenseless American prisoners, who were crowded into a few 
cold houses and pens, were soon in the hands of the merciless savages. Some 
of them were killed outright or cruelly burned to death ; a number were 
scalped alive. Many were tortured in various ways, some by being com- 
pelled to run the gantlet. In the confusion not many made their escape. 
But of those few who ran the gantlet and came out alive, Larkin N. Akers 
was one. 

Akers often told the sad story of his River Raisin experience to his fam- 
ily and friends while sitting around the fireside or while working in his 
tailor shop in Greenville. The treatment he received during that massacre 
was almost beyond human endurance. His body was virtually covered with 
scars. Up to the time of his death, which occurred in July, 1865, he fre- 
quently suffered intense pain from 
a fractured skull and other Avounds 
inflicted by the Indians.^ 

Mosley Collins Drake was among 
the Muhlenberg men who took part 
in the battle of the Thames. This 
battle took place on October 15, 
1813, in Southern Ontario, near the 
TJiames River, and was the victory 
gained by American forces under 
General William Henry Harrison 
over the British under General 
Proctor and their Indian allies, led 
by Teeumseli. 

Like some of the other Muhlen- 
berg men who belonged to Captain 
Lewis Kincheloe's company and 
who took part in the battle of the 
Thames, Drake claimed that he saw 
Tecumseh after the great Indian 
chief was killed, and often remarked that if any of the soldiers skinned Te- 
cumseh and "made razor strops out of his hide" they must have done so 
after he saw the dead body. 

Mosley Collins Drake was born in North Carolina in 1795, came to 
Muhlenberg in 1806 with his father, and farmed in the lower Long Creek 


- Larkin N. Akers married Sally Harrison, who was related to General 
William Henry Harrison. Mr. and Mrs. L. N. Akers were the parents of five chil- 
dren: (1) Anna Akers, who married John A. Stembridge; (2) Jane Akers, who 
married William Lindsey; (3) Matilda Akers, who after the death of her first 
husband, David Donevan, married Joseph Randall, both of whom lived in Hopkins- 
ville; (4) Thomas Akers, who married Lera Boswell, of Princeton; (5) Sarah 
Catherine Akers, who married Charles W. Lovell, of Muhlenberg. 


country the greater part of his life. He died in 1885. His wife was Lour- 
aney Wells, daughter of pioneer Micajah Wells.-" 

Ephraim McLean Brank's heroic act on the breastworks in the battle of 
New Orleans, January 8, 1815, is one of the most thrilling incidents re- 
corded of any Muhlenberg man, as it is a fine one in national history. To 
his family and friends he seldom described the part he played in this battle. 
However, his friends and comrades, John Shelton, Mike Severs, and others, 
frequently told the story, and although their version was never written, it 
was in nearly every detail the same as the one here re-quoted from McEl- 
roy's "Kentucky in the Nation's History." 

McElroy, by way of introduction, says: "The effect produced upon the 
British army by the daring coolness of a single Kentucky rifleman is thus 
graphically described by one of the British officers who took part in the his- 
toric engagement." He then quotes: 

"We marched in solid column in a direct line, upon the American de- 
fenses. I belonged to the staff; and as we advanced we watched through 
our glasses the position of the enemy, with that intensity an officer only 
feels when marching into the jaws of death. It was a strange sight, that 
breastwork, with a crowd of beings behind, their heads only visible above 
the line of defense. We could distinctly see their long rifles lying on the 
works, and the batteries in our front, with their great mouths gaping to- 
ward us. We could also see the position of General Jackson, with his staff 
around him. But what attracted our attention most, was the figure of a tall 
man standing on the breastworks, dressed in linsey-woolsey, with buckskin 
leggings, and a broad-brimmed felt hat that fell round the face, almost 
concealing the features. He was standing in one of those picturesque, 
graceful attitudes peculiar to those natural men dwelling in forests. The 
body rested on the left leg, and swayed with a curved line upward. The 
right arm was extended, the hand grasping the rifle near the muzzle, the 
butt of which rested near the toe of his right foot. With the left hand he 
raised the rim of the hat from his eyes, and seemed gazing intently on our 
advancing column. The cannon of the enemy had opened on us, and tore 

3 Mqsley Collins Drake was a son of pioneer Albritton Drake. Albritton Drake 
and James Drake, his father, were Revolutionary soldiers. It is said they were 
descendants of Sir Francis Drake. When Albritton Drake joined the Revolution- 
ary forces he called on his sweetheart, Ruth Collins, to bid her goodbye. The 
story is told that when the two parted they chanced to be standing under an apple 
tree on which a few dried "second growth" apples were hanging. The girl plucked 
■one of them and gave it to Albritton, saying, "Keep this in your pocket as a re- 
minder of me." He carried it in his pocket, not only during the Revolution, but 
up to the day he and Ruth Collins were married. That same apple — much shriv- 
eled and very hard — was preserved by Mosley Collins Drake for many years, and 
Is now owned by John R. Drake, son of William Drake. 

Albritton Drake was one of the best-known pioneers in the lower Long Creek 
country, where he died in 1834. His wife died in 1847. They were the parents of 
Reverend Silas, Mosley Collins, Reverend Benjamin, J. Perry, Edmund, and 
William Drake. 

Mr. and Mrs. Mosley Collins Drake were the parents of eleven children: (1) 
Ruth Ann, the second wife of Moses M. Rice; (2) Albritton M., married to Elizabeth 
Hancock; (3) Sarah Amandaville, to Moses M. Rice; (4) John Perry, a bachelor; 
(5) Edmund L., to Ruth Drake; (6) James Marion, to Mary E. Saddler; (7) 
William M., a bachelor; (8) Susan P., to John Wells, then to John Jenkins; 
(9) Jackey L., to Thomas S. Saddler; (10) Sophia V., to James P. Drake; (11) 
Mosley Collins, jr., to Amanda Saddler. 



through our works with dreadful slaughter; but we continued to advance, 
unwavering and cool as if nothing threatened our progress. 

' ' The roar of cannon had no effect upon the figure before us ; he seemed 
fixed and motionless as a statue. At last he moved, threw back his hat rim 
over the crown with his left hand, raised the rifle to the shoulder, and took 
aim at our group. 

' ' Our eyes were riveted upon him ; at whom had he leveled his piece ? But 
the distance was so great, that we looked at each other and smiled. We saw 

the rifle flash and very 
rightly conjectured that 
his aim was in the direc- 
tion of our party. My 
right hand companion, 
as noble a fellow as ever 
rode at the head of a 
regiment, fell from his 

"The hunter paused 
a few moments with- 
out moving his gun 
from his shoulder. 
Then he reloaded and 
assumed his former at- 
titude.* Throwing the 
hat rim over his eyes 
and again holding it up 
with the left hand, he 
fixed his piercing gaze 
upon us as if hunting 
out another victim. 
Once more the hat rim 
was thrown back, and 
the gun raised to his 
shoulder. This time we 
did not smile, but cast 
glances at each other, 
to see which of us must 

"When again the 
rifle flashed, another one 
of our party dropped to the earth. There was something most awful in this 
marching on to certain death. The cannon and thousands of musket balls 
playing upon our ranks, we cared not for, for there was a chance of escap- 
ing them. Most of us had walked as coolly upon batteries more destructive 
without quailing, but to know that every time that rifle was leveled toward 
us, and its bullet sprang from the barrel, one of us must surely fall ; to see 
it rest motionless as if poised on a rack, and know, when the hammer came 
down, that the messenger of death drove unerringly to its goal, to know this, 
and still march on, was awful. I could see nothing but the tall figure stand- 

4 Tradition says E. M. Brank did not load the guns he shot from the breast- 
works. He used flintlocks, and fired them as rapidly as Mike Severs and Robert 
Craig reloaded and handed them up to him. 




ing on the breastworks ; he seemed to grow, phantom-like, higher and higher, 
assuming, through the smoke, the supernatural appearance of some great 
spirit of death. Again did he reload and discharge, and reload and dis- 
charge his rifle, with the same unfailing aim and the same unfailing result ; 
and it was with indescribable pleasure that I beheld, as we neared the Amer- 
ican lines, the sulphurous cloud gathering around us, and shutting that 
spectral hunter from our gaze. 

''We lost the battle ; and to my mind, the Kentucky rifleman contributed 
more to our defeat than anything else ; for while he remained in our sight 
our attention was drawn from our duties ; and when, at last, he became en- 
shrouded in the smoke, the work was complete ; we were in utter confusion, 
and unable, in the extremity, to restore order sufficient to make any success- 
ful attack — the battle was lost." 

McElroy's footnote, page 365, following this quotation, reads: "This 
manuscript is marked 'Kentucky Rifleman in battle of New Orleans,' Dur- 
rett Collection. The hero here described was E. M. Brank, of Greenville. 
Kentucky. ' ' The manuscript referred to is not signed, but gives the name 
of E. M. Brank as the hero of the sketch. The late Z. F. Smith informed me 
that this description was first printed about the year 1820 in one of George 
Robert Gleig's books on the campaigns of the British at "Washington and 
New Orleans. I have not had access to any of these works by Gleig and am 
unable, therefore, to refer the reader to the quotation in the original. At 
any rate, this interesting description was quoted as early as 1832 by Walter 
Walcott in "The Republican" of Boston, and later republished, but slightly 
changed, by various Kentucky papers, clippings of which are still preserved 
by Rockwell S. Brank and other descendants of E. M. Brank. 

Ephraim McLean Brank 
was born in North Carolina 
August 1, 1791, and died in 
Greenville August 5, 1875. 
He was a son of Robert 
Brank and Margaret (Mc- 
Lean) Brank, who was a sis- 
ter of Judge Alney McLean 
and Doctor Robert D. Mc- 
Lean, sr. His first wife, the 
mother of his children, was 
Mary (Campbell) Brank, 
daughter of Colonel Wil- 
liam Campbell. She was 
born March 27, 1791, and 
died in Greenville December 
4, 1850. His second wife was Ruth B. Weir, the third wife and widow of 
pioneer James Weir. 

E. M. Brank came to Muhlenberg about 1808. He was a lawyer by pro- 
fession, but devoted most of his time to surveying. He lived in Greenville 
on Main Street, half a mile north of the courthouse. Although his later 
years were spent in farming, he nevertheless continued to take a great inter- 



est in the progress of the town. Captain Brank was a man of stately pro- 
portions and wonderful physical constitution. He was a "crack shot" and 
an enthusiastic hunter ; a well-read and a resolute and systematic man, and 
very kind to all those with whom he came in contact.^ 

Of all the citizens of Muhlenberg County who took part in the second 
war with England probably none worked with more zeal or did more for his 
country than Alney McLean. Immediately after the news reached "Western 
Kentucky that war had been declared he organized a company of volun- 
teers, and was always ready to leave with them at any time they might be 
called. The official records show that his first company was "enlisted Sep- 
tember 18, 1812," and was "engaged to October 30, 1812." Whether or not 
this company saw any service other than to march from Greenville to 
Frankfort or Ne\^^ort, and after remaining in camp awhile, returning 
home, I can not state with any certainty. However, one tradition says that 
after this company had been accepted it was discovered that the supply of 
volunteers was far greater than the number of arms and other necessary 
war material at their disposal, and that it fell to the lot of McLean's com- 
pany to turn over their self -supplied equipment to such men as had none 
but were members of companies that had been chosen for immediate service. 

After Alney McLean helped organize Lewis Kincheloe 's company in the 
fall of 1813 he formed another of his own, drilled his men often and had 
them prepare, like the minute-men, to report on a moment's notice. At the 
head of his second company he took an active part in the battle of New Or- 
leans. Judge Little, in his ' ' Life of Ben Hardin, ' ' says : 

After the battle he was assigned to very arduous fatigue duty, of which 
he complained to General Jackson. He received an insulting rebuff, for 
which he never forgave his old commander.^ , . , 

By change of districts Judge McLean, of Greenville, in 1822, succeeded 
Judge Broadnax in the Breckinridge district. He was always an active pol- 
itician. His accession to the bench and tw^enty years service there did not 
diminish his interest in public affairs. He had served as a captain at New 
Orleans, and while not with the Kentucky troops, who, in the language of 
General Jackson, ' ' ingloriously fled, ' ' yet he resented this stigma cast upon 
his State. He was ever an opponent of "Old Hickory." Naturally enough 

5 Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Brank were the parents of five children: (1) Louisa, who 
married James M. Taylor (no children) ; (2) Tabitha A., who became the second 
wife of Doctor William H. Yost (no children) ; (3) Samuel C, who died in child- 
hood; (4) Reverend Robert G. Brank, who married Ruth A. Smith. He was born 
November 3, 1824, and died in St. Louis August 21, 1895. Among their four chil- 
dren is Reverend Rockwell Smith Brank. (5) Mary .Jane, who became the first 
wife of Doctor William H. Yost. Through his skill, liberality, and long service 
"Old Doctor Yost," as he was called, became one of the best-known physicians in 
Muhlenberg and adjoining counties. Doctor Yost was born July 5, 1820, and died 
in Greenville November 1, 1894. Doctor and Mrs. Yost were the parents of three 
children: (1) Mary W. Yost, the first wife of Doctor T. J. Slaton. Their two chil- 
dren are Doctors Henry Y. and Brank Slaton. (2) Judge William H. Yost, who 
married Lizzie Reno. Their two children, who reached maturity, are Doctor E. R. 
Yost and Mrs. Mary B. (Reverend W. H.) Fulton. (3) Doctor E. B. Yost, who 
married Bertha Grimes (no children). 

6 John F. Coffman, who during the camp,aign around New Orleans served as 
one of General Jackson's bodyguard, was, it is said, the only man in Muhlenberg 
to vote for Jackson in the presidential election of 1825. 



he was a friend of Henry Clay. He was, while judge, chosen a Clay elector 
in 1824 and again in 1832. His taste for and activity in politics shocked 
those of his constituents specially sensitive as to the proprieties of the bench. 

Under the head of McLean County, Collins, in his "History of Ken- 
tucky," publishes a brief biographical sketch of Judge McLean: 

Judge Alney McLean, in honor of whom McLean county was named, was 
a native of Burke county, North Carolina. He emigrated to Kentucky and 
began the practice of law at Greenville, Muhlenburg county, about 1805, but 
had little to do with politics 
before 1808. He was a rep- 
resentative from that county 
in the legislature, 1812- '13; 
a captain in the war of 1812, 
a representative in Congress 
for four years, 1815- '17 and 
1819- '21; one of the electors 
for president in 1825, cast- 
ing his vote and that of the 
state for Henry Clay ; again 
in 1833 an elector for the 
state at large, when the vote 
of the state was cast a sec- 
ond time for the same dis- 
tinguished citizen. He was 
appointed a circuit judge. 
and for many years adorned 
the bench. One of the old- 
est and ablest of Kentucky 
ex-judges, in a letter to the 
author, speaks of Judge Mc- 
Lean as "a model gentle- 
man of the old school, of 
great courtesy and kindness 
to the junior members of 
the bar, ' ' an honored citizen 
and a just judge. alney mclean, about i82o 

The following is copied from the record entered by the clerk of the 
Muhlenberg Circuit Court in Record Book No. 8, at the March term in 1842. 
It verifies not only some of the statements given above but adds other facts, 
and also shows the high esteem in which Judge McLean was held by his 
contemporaries : 

Thereupon, on motion of John H. McHenry, the Court suspended all 
further proceedings for the purpose of attending the following meeting. 

And thereupon Edward Rumsey, Esq., offered the following preamble 
and resolved statement, to wit : At a meeting of the members of the Muhlen- 
berg Circuit Court, on Monday, the 21st day of March 1842, the Hon. John 
Calhoun was called to the chair, and the following statement and resolution 
being presented, were unanimously adopted : 


"The Honorable Alney McLean, late presiding judge of this Court, was 
born in the state of North Carolina, in May 1779. In June 1799 he removed 
to this county, and commenced the practice of law, which he successfully 
pursued, through a long series of years, securing by his integrity, ability 
and courtesy the confidence of the bench, the friendship of the bar, and the 
esteem of the public. In 1812 & 1813 he represented his county with fidelity 
and distinction in the General Assembly. 

"In 1813 and 1815 he aided in repelling the invaders of his country in 
the memorable battle of New Orleans, at the head of his company, acted the 
part of a gallant officer and devoted patriot. With honor and reputation 
he represented his district in the 16th and 18th Congresses. In 1821 he re- 
ceived the commission of Judge of the 14th District in which he presided 
with eminent impartiality, dignity, and ability, for more than twenty years. 
The 31st day of December, 1841 his active and useful life was suddenly ter- 
minated by a severe attack of bilious pneumonia. Regret and grief for his 
death, though great and general, may well be somewhat alleviated by the re- 
flection that he lived not in vain, that he died after a long career of public 
and private usefulness — full of honor, high in the affection of his friends 
and the esteem of his countrymen, leaving a bright fame, a beloved memory 

Alney McLean was the first county surveyor of Muhlenberg, and laid out 
the town of Greenville in 1799. He took an active interest in all movements 
that might help develop the county. Ilis popularity is also shown by the 
great number of children named in his honor by their parents. Doctor Rob- 
ert D. McLean, sr., of Greenville (born 1783, died 1875), in his day one of 
the best-known surgeons in Western Kentucky, was his brother. 

Judge McLean was a son of Ephraim McLean and Eliza (Davidson) Mc- 
Lean. His father, in 1820, at the age of ninety, removed from North Caro- 
lina to Greenville, and there died three years later. Judge McLean married 
Tabitha R. Campbell, daughter of Colonel William Campbell. She was born 
in Virginia January 25, 1785, and died in Greenville February 17, 1850. No 
one among the pioneers is more frequently and more creditably mentioned 
in local traditions than Judge McLean. In his day he was esteemed one of the 
greatest men in the Green River country, and as such his name will always 
be recorded in its history, much to the credit of Muhlenberg County.''' 

Isaac Davis was an officer in Alney McLean's company, and was among 
the Muhlenberg men who took part in the battle of New Orleans. Tradition 
says he frequently referred to his military experience as "a tramp around 
with the boys. ' ' While camping at New Orleans, so runs the story, he, like 

^ Judge and Mrs. Alney McLean were the parents of ten children, all of whom 
were born in Muhlenberg County. Six of them were married and lived the greater 
part of their life in Mississippi, where they died: William D., Reverend Thornton, 
Judge Robert D., Samuel, Mrs. Eliza A. D. McBride, and Mrs. Transylvania 
McBride. None of the four children who made Muhlenberg their home were ever 
married: Tabitha was born May 25, 1815, and died September 10, 1898; Alney was 
born October 27, 1819, and died May 29, 1905; Charles W. was born October 27, 
1819, and died October 13, 1893; Roweua was born October 22, 1827, and died Sep- 
tember 10, 1861. 

Judge William C. McLean, of Grenada, Alississippi, who during 1910-11 was an 
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, is a son of Judge Robert D. 




the others, suffered many hardships. He was accustomed to fresh butter 
and sweet milk, and these he missed far more than any of the other things 
of which he was deprived. Before leaving New Orleans he vowed that upon 
his return to Muhlenberg he would not only build a comfortable house, but 
also dig a large cellar and keep it well supplied with butter and milk. Prac- 
tically all the well-to-do pioneers used cellars, but none, according to this 
tradition, was better 
equipped and supplied than 
was the one dug by Isaac 
Davis. The old Isaac Davis 
house still stands — near 
Green River, east of Mart- 
wick — and although its cel- 
lar is no longer noted for its 
abundance of butter and 
milk, it is still pointed out as 
the "Isaac Davis milk cel- 

Davis lived on a farm 
that in early days was re- 
garded one of the best-managed places in the county. He owned many 
slaves and much stock, and raised large quantities of corn and wheat. He 
did not plant tobacco, for he considered tobacco injurious to the soil. It is 
said that he protected his ground so well and cultivated his corn so carefully 
that he never had a crop failure, and that even during the dryest years his 
ridge land never produced less than fifty bushels to the acre. His corn- 
cribs were always well filled. When his neighbors' crops failed he sold them 
corn for their immediate need at any price they cared to pay, even though 
that price was less than half the prevailing market price. If they were in 
poor circumstances and could pay nothing, he gave them the corn. 

In his earlier years he frequently taught school, for which he invari- 
ably declined pay. He instructed the rising generation ' ' for the good of the 
community," as he expressed it, although in the meantime he had "more 
than enough to do at home." 

Isaac Davis was born in Virginia October 9, 1782, came to the Nelson 
Creek country while a boy, and died in Muhlenberg June 6, 1858. His 
wife, Mary, was a sister of pioneer Moses "Wickliffe. She was born April 22, 
1785, and died September 14, 1870.8 

Another of the well-known veterans of the War of 1812 was Joseph C. 
Reynolds, who was born in North Carolina May 17, 1793, and who while 
still a boy came to Lluhlenberg, where he died January 13, 1868. While 
visiting in Tennessee he enlisted in a company organized in that State. He 
showed great bravery at the battle of New Orleans, where he experienced a 
number of narrow escapes. Tradition has it that General Andrew Jackson 
complimented him on his courage in battle. 

® Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Davis were the parents of seven children: Mrs. Eliza Jane 
(Richard H.) Jones; Mrs. Mary K. (William Mc.) Sharp; Mrs. Julian Ann 
(George) King; Mrs. Ellen (Elias Wickliffe) Davis; Aaron W., William, and 
Edward Davis. 



Joseph C. Reynolds was for fifty years one of the best-known men in the 
county. He was a successful farmer, and up to the time of the emancipa- 
tion of the slaves was one of the largest slave-owners in IMuhlenberg. He 
was a liberal man, and never hesitated to volunteer to help a neighbor or 
friend when he felt his help was needed. In January, 1820, he married 
Mary Fortney Reynolds, a daughter of pioneer Richard D. Reynolds, sr., a 

Revolutionary soldier. They were 
the parents of six children, all of 
whom were influential citizens. 
j\Irs. RejTiolds, like her husband, 
always had the good of IMuhlen- 
berg at heart and did much toward 
the moral advancement of the 
county. She came to Muhlenberg 
in her youth, and died near Green- 
ville August 31, 1868.9 

In addition to Akers, Drake, 
"Wing, Brank, McLean, Davis, and 
Reynolds, there were many other 
]\Iu]denberg men in the War of 
1812. Traditions regarding most 
of them are very vague. Even 
Michael Severs, who helped load 
the guns that Ephraim M. Brank 
shot while standing on the breast- 
works at New Orleans, and who in 
his day was one of the most picturesque characters in the county, is now al- 
most forgotten. 

Severs lived in the Bevier neighborhood, where he died about the year 
1850. He came to Muhlenberg some time before 1800. He was then, and 
ever after, a typical backwoodsman and a true representative of the pioneer 
days. Although manners and customs changed as he advanced in years, he 
nevertheless continued to wear the hunting-shirt and to use a flintlock 
rifle. During all his life he wore moccasins in winter and went barefooted 
in summer. 

He was a member of Alney McLean's company and, as already stated, 
took part in the battle of New Orleans. One story is to the effect that after 
the victory all the men in IMcLean's company rode back to Kentucky except 
Mike, and that although he walked he reached Greenville a few days before 
any of the others. One of the local traditions has it that he killed General 
Pakenham in the battle of New Orleans. "Whether he is entitled to this dis- 
tinction can probably never be determined. At any rate he was highly es- 
teemed, especially by the local men who took part in the War of 1812. 
Every time he came to Greenville such men as Alney McLean and Charles 
Fox Wing prevailed on him to be their guest while in town. Although clad 


s Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Reynolds were the parents of Richard D., Thomas H., 
John T., sr., Benjamin F., Mrs. Nancy Y. (C. C.) Martin, and Mrs. Susan E. (J. A.) 


in buckskin breeches and hunting-shirt, and often without shoes, he was 
always placed at the head of the table and given the best room in the house, 
regardless of other guests. 

The progress of the world and the making of money had no attractions 
for him. He was always interested in his immediate surroundings, and 
whatever he undertook he did with great enthusiasm. After the death of 
hij; second wife, which occurred many years before his own, he lived in a log 
cabin, but spent most of his days tramping around and hunting. When 
night overtook him, or when he cared to stop, he went to the most con- 
venient house, walked in without knocking, presented his game, made him- 
self at home, and remained until he was ready to start on another hunt. He 
was gladly received by every one who knew him. Every man considered it 
an honor to have Mike Severs enter his smoke-house or corn-crib and help 
himself. This he often did, for he realized that he was more than welcome 
to anything he wished to take. He made quantities of maple sugar every 
year, and distributed his entire "bilin' " among those who cared for "tree 
sugar. ' ' 

Severs was evidently a most interesting and unusual character. Very 
little regarding the story of his life is now remembered by those who heard 
of him in their youth. The bones of this old hunter rest in the Duke and 
Whitehouse burying-ground near Bevier, and his contented soul, in all prob- 
ability, is now wandering around in the happy hunting-grounds of another 

Many years after his death some of the people in the Bevier neighbor- 
hood purposed to erect a shaft over his grave, but unfortunately their plans 
were never carried out. Severs Hill, overlooking lower Pond Creek, and 
the nearby Severs Ford, crossing the same stream, now perpetuate the name 
of Mike Severs, the old soldier and old-time backwoodsman, i^ 

1" Michael Severs was the father of nine children, among whom were Michael, 
William, and Gabriel Severs, Mrs. Nancy Jones, Mrs. Lucinda Underwood, and 
Mrs. Archa M. Bibb. 


NO MAN in Muhlenberg ever came in closer touch with a larger num- 
ber of the citizens of the county than Charles Fox Wing. No 
man living in the county was more highly esteemed by his con- 
temporaries. From 1798, when he first came to Muhlenberg, to 
1861, when he died in Greenville, he had the respect and confidence of every 
man with whom he came in contact. 

He was the youngest son of Barnabas Wing, who was for many years one 
of the wealthiest and most prominent men in New Bedford, Massachusetts, 
where he was extensively engaged in shipbuilding and various other enter- 
prises. During the Revolution Barnabas Wing loaned money to the colony 
of Massachusetts Bay with which to carry on the War of Independence. 
During this struggle his home and all his other property was confiscated by 
the English, and at the close of the war he was a penniless man. It was 
during these trying times that Charles Fox Wing was born. About the year 
1790 Barnabas Wing moved to Central Kentucky, and there, at the age of 
about fifty-seven, he began life anew. He and his wife had no desire to try 
to regain their lost fortune, but worked as best they could for the education 
of their younger children. They undoubtedly impressed upon their young- 
est son the sacredness and the cost of independence, for no man venerated 
the flag and its makers more than did Charles Fox Wing during all of his 
long life. Barnabas Wing moved to Greenville about 1809, and died there 
at the home of his son, October 4, 1815. 

Charles Fox Wing was born in Massachusetts, according to one record, 
on January 25, 1779, and according to another, on January 15, 1780. In 
either case he was less than twenty-one years of age when, on May 28, 1799, 
he was appointed county clerk. He had previous to this time served in the 
office of Thomas Allen, of Mercer County, and Thomas Todd, Clerk of the 
House of Representatives. The experience gained under these two men un- 
doubtedly made him far more competent to fill the position of county clerk 
than many men who had reached the age required by law. He served as 
clerk of the court of quarter sessions, and in March, 1803, when the circuit 
court was established, he became its clerk. He continued as clerk of the cir- 
cuit and county courts until the adoption of the Third Constitution in 1850. 
He was then more than seventy years of age, and had devoted more than a 
half century to the writing and preserving of official records. When the 
Constitution of 1850 was adopted the office of circuit clerk and all county 
offices became elective. Captain Wing, at the urgent solicitation of the citi- 



zens of the county, became the candidate for clerk of the circuit court, and 
was elected without opposition ; his son, AVilliam H. C. Wing, who had as- 
sisted his father for many years, was elected county clerk. 

When, in 1812, war was declared against England, no Muhlenberg man 
responded to the call to arms with greater enthusiasm or with more patriotic 


feeling than did Charles Fox Wing. He and Captain Lewis Kincheloe or- 
ganized a company and awaited orders from the Governor. In the early 
part of September, 1813, their company marched to Newport, and on Octo- 
ber 5th of the same year took part in the battle of the Thames. Wing was 
the lieutenant of this company, but on Captain Kincheloe 's death, which oc- 
curred before the battle, he was placed in command. 

The details of Captain Wing's action in this short but decisive battle 
are, unfortunately, among the many other things that have passed away 
with the men and women who were familiar with them. The story of his 
connection with this battle has dwindled down to the statement that he was 
** a hero at Thames, and saw Tecumseh after he was slain." This brief 



statement is probably founded on some act of heroism, for tradition says 
that all the veterans of 1812 not only referred to him as "a hero at 
Thames" but always gave him the seat of honor at their soldiers' reunions. 
Those who knew him best declare that his recollections of the part he took in 
the second war with England were among the many things that, in old age, 
gave him the satisfaction of feeling that he at least had tried to do his duty 

toward his county and his country. 
No man in the county or State 
was more devoted to the American 
flag or regarded it with more 
sacred feeling. Every year, on the 
Fourth of July, from 1799 to 1861, 
he hoisted Old Glory on a pole in 
front of the courthouse and also in 
front of his own home. Tliis fact is 
referred to by James Weir in his 
recollections of Greenville as pub- 
lished in "Lonz Powers" and 
quoted in this volume. The Louis- 
ville Daily Journal, shortly after 
Captain AVing's death, comment- 
ing on his devotion to the flag, 

His love for the American flag 
has been a marked feature of his 
whole life. His devotion to the 
Star-spangled Banner was prover- 
bial in all this region. It amounted to a passion. It was the one form in 
which, throughout his declining years, the rich and intense loyalty of Ms 
nature sought full expression. Every Fourth of July for the last quarter of 
a century and upwards, as regularly as the glorious anniversary dawned, 
he had raised the Stars and Stripes in his humble dooryard, and had kept 
them flying proudly until the close of day. The sight of the starry banner 
of the Republic, though rendered dim by the cloud of age, was to him a sol- 
ace and an inspiration, bringing tears of mingled pride and joy to his failing 
eyes and smiles of hope to his sunken lips and his withered cheeks. He had 
been born under the American flag : he had lived under it and fought under 
it ; and, now that he was dying under it, he asked, as his last request on 
earth, that ere he should be consigned to the grave he might be wrapped in 
the folds of that worshipped banner — that it might be his shroud in death 
as it had been his canopy through life. He died with this prayer on his lips. 

This request was granted. His body was not only wrapped in the Amer- 
ican flag, but in the very flag he had hoisted in front of the courthouse dur- 
ing the last ten or fifteen years of his life, and thus lowered into the grave. 
General Buckner and his army passed through Greenville September 26. 
1861, the day after Captain Wing died. The General viewed the remains of 
his old and fatherly friend, commented on the befitting manner in which his 
body was wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, and then returned to the trooi>s 



under his command. Such are the facts regarding this incident. I have 
verified this version by many men and women, among them General Buck- 
ner himself, who in August, 1912, fifty-one years after the incident oc- 
curred, still remembered all the circumstances connected with his call at the 
Wing home. 

One of the other versions has it that General Buckner offered to bury 
Captain Wing with military honors, his offer being declined ; another has it 
that General Buckner, finding the body of Captain Wing wrapped in the 
Stars and Stripes, insisted on removing the Federal flag and burying the 
old patriot in the Confederate flag. A variety of other groundless state- 
ments can be traced to these two often heard but false stories. ^ 

On October 18, 1861, the Louisville Daily Journal published a brief 
sketch of Captain Wing, signed "T." From this I quote: 

It was his rare merit to be all that he seemed to be, a distinction seldom 
attained by those who have figTired on the public stage of life or have re- 
ceived its highest honors. He was the chief supporter of the little Presby- 
terian Church of his preference, and with unfailing constancy his venerable 
form was seen and his earnest voice heard whenever two or three were con- 
vened to worship God. For thirty years, with untiring patience, he presided 
over and sustained the Sunday-school. His departure makes a great void. 
Who can fill it ? A life of great beauty and excellence was closed by a most 
triumphant faith in the joys beyond the grave. 

In 1806 Charles Fox Wing married Anna S., or "Nancy," Campbell, 
daughter of Colonel William Campbell and Tabitlia A. (Russell) Campbell. 
Mrs. Wing was born March 13, 1788, came to Muhlenberg about eight years 
later, and died January 17, 1863. She was buried in Caney Station burying- 
ground by the side of her husband. Captain Wing died in Greenville Sep- 
tember 25, 1861, aged about eighty-one. The inscription on his tombstone, 
"Died September 15, 1861," is incorrect, and has been so recognized since 
the stone was erected in 1862.^ 

1 Charles Fox Wing, in all probability, was named in honor of Charles James 
Fox, the great English orator, who entered Parliament in 1768 at the age of 
nineteen and at once took rank as the most brilliant speaker and statesman 
after Pitt. He was a friend of the American colonies. Some of his great speeches 
n-ere in opposition to George the Third's war on the colonies. Fox thought the 
Americans ought to have hom.e rule or independence. By the time Charles Fox 
Wing was born the fame of Fox had become worldwide, and was at its height 
when he (Fox) died in 1806, aged fifty-seven. 

The name "Charles Fox" indicates the patriotism of the parents of Charles 
Fox Wing. It is more than probable that both father and mother often told their 
son Charles of the sufferings and losses endured during the Revolution, and thus 
impressed upon him the cost of American liberty and the meaning of the Ameri- 
can flag. 

2 Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fox Wing were the parents of eight children: (1) 
William H. C. Wing, a bachelor. (2) Jane M., who married Edward Rumsey. (3) 
Lucy, who married Jonathan Short, to whom were born: Mrs. Mary (Lewis) Reno, 
Charles W. Short, Mrs. Lucy (Samuel) Landes, Mrs. Minnie (J.J.) Kahn, and Miss 
Anna Short. After the death of her first husband, Jonathan Short (who was born 
May 24, 1822, and died August 27, 1882), Mrs. Lucy Wing Short, in 1888, became 
the third wife of Doctor William H. Yost. She was born in Greenville June 16, 
1822, and is now the oldest living citizen in the town. (4) Lucilia, who married 
Professor James K. Patterson, to whom was born an only child, William A. Pat- 



The log residence built by Captain Wing shortly after he was married 
stood on the southeast corner of Main Cross and Cherry streets, Greenville. 
The building was later enlarged and covered with weatherboards. The 
Wing house was, for more than fifty years, Muhlenberg's center of hospital- 
ity and refinement. This famous old landmark was torn down in 1905 and 
a few years later a modern residence was erected on the site by J. L. Rogers. 


Taken thirty years after the death of Captain Wing and about fifteen years 

before the building was torn down 

. Captain Wing's long service as clerk of county and circuit courts, his 
unselfish interest in the community and his usefulness as a citizen, are re- 
ferred to in other chapters. He was in every respect an upright, intelligent, 
useful, and charitable man. He was worthy of the great respect he com- 
manded, and his name is well deserving of the great esteem in which it is 
now held. 

terson. (5) Samuel M. Wing, who married Emily Weir, to whom were born seven 
children: E. Rumsey, Theodore W., Samuel C, Mrs. Emma (W.) Yerkes, William, 
Charles F., and Albert. (6) Caroline, (7) Anna, and (8) Matilda Wing; the last 
three never married. 

E. Rumsey Wing, son of Samuel M. Wing, was appointed Minister Resident of 
the United States to Ecuador, November 16, 1869, and died at his post October 
6, 1874. His widow, about twenty-five years later, became the third wife of Colonel 
W. C. P. Breckinridge. 


FOUR Muhlenberg men while citizens of the county became members of 
Congress — Alney McLean, Edward Rumsey, Doctor A. D. James, 
and R. Y. Thomas. P^dward Rumsey, the second to attain this dis- 
tinction, came to Muhlenberg in his youth, shortly after the close of 
the second war with England, and made Greenville his home during the rest 
of his life — a period of fifty years. Citizens now living who knew Edward 
Rumsey in their younger days usually begin and end their talks regarding 
him, whether short or long, with a sentiment that is best expressed in a par- 
aphrase of the familiar quotation : 

"None knew him but to love him, 
Nor named him but to praise." 

He wa« very modest and unassuming and usually a man of few words, but 
when addressing the public his speech became eloquent. 

Some have it that the town of Rumsey, in IMcLean County, was named 
after him. Others assert that the place was so called after his uncle, "James 
Rumsey, who built the first steamboat. ' ' However, the version generally ac- 
cepted is that when, in 1839, the people proposed naming the new town after 
Edward Rumsey, he modestly declined the honor, and his friends then com- 
promised with him and called the place Rumsey in memory of his uncle. 
Thus, although the town may have been named after James Rumsey, it was 
really so called after Edward Rumsey. 

The death of his two children, aged three and six, in the spring of 1838, 
was soon followed by the loss of all ambition on his part to climb the ladder 
of fame. His friends vainly urged him not to cast aside his many bright 
prospects of a public career. Although liis interest in public affairs prac- 
tically ceased when he was forty, no man in ^Muhlenberg was better known 
and more admired during his entire life than Edward Rumsey. He was a 
gentleman of the "old school," During the Civil War the Southern sym- 
pathizers looked upon him as their adviser. He married Jane M. Wing, 
daughter of Charles Fox Wing. She died October 15, 1868. 

Much could be written about Edward Rumsey based on the verbal re- 
ports of to-day, but such a chapter would probablj'- be more of a eulogy than 
a biographical sketch. Ten years after his death an article on his life and 
character was printed in "The Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentuckians 
of the Nineteenth Century, ' ' which I here quote in full : 

Hon. Edward Rumsey, lawyer, was born in Botetourt county, Virginia, 
in 1800, and removed with his father. Dr. Edward Rumsey, to Christian 
county, Kentucky, when quite a boy. 

His uncle, James Rumsey, is claimed to be the first who applied steam to 
navigation in America, if not in England. It was also claimed that the evi- 



dence submitted before the National House of Representatives, in 1839, is 
conclusive as to his priority over John Fitch. A letter written by George 
"Washington, in 1787, mentions that James Rumsey had communicated 
his steamboat invention to him in 1784, and that subsequently John Fitch 

had laid his claim to the 
invention before him, 
asking his assistance, he 
declining to give it, stat- 
ing that James Rumsey 
had previously intro- 
duced the same idea to 

It is certain that 
James Rumsey pro- 
pelled a steamboat on 
the Potomac River, 
against the stream, at 
the rate of four miles 
an hour in 1784. He af- 
terward went to Eng- 
land and procured pat- 
ents for steam naviga- 
tion from the British 
Government in 1788 ; 
constructed a boat of 
one hundred tons bur- 
den, with improved ap- 
plications, covered by 
his patents, which were 
in advance of those of 
James Watt. He was 
on the eve of complete 
success when his sudden 
death from apoplexy, 
while discussing the 

EDWARD BUMSEY, ABOUT 1845 priucipleS of his inveU- 

tion before the Royal 
Society, terminated his career. His boat and machinery went to satisfy his 
creditors ; and Robert Fulton, then in London, profited by his intimacy witli 
the inventor. 

Edward Rumsey was educated in Hopkinsville by Daniel Barry, one of 
the famous classicists of Kentucky. He studied law with John J. Critten- 
den, who became his lifelong friend. He settled in Greenville and practiced 
in Muhlenberg and adjoining counties. His reputation for candor and 
thorough honesty, coupled with his clear sense of justice and wonderful 
faculty of expression, soon placed him at the head of the bar. With all his 
natural qualifications to shine in public life he was remarkably timid and 
modest, his diffidence at times becoming almost morbid. Owing to this fact, 
no doubt to a great extent, may be attributed the loss from public affairs of 
one of the most refined and brilliant men of the times. 

At the urgent solicitation of his county, he consented, in 1822, to repre- 
sent its interests in the Legislature, where he immediately took rank as a 
leader, making a great impression by his earnestness, modesty and uncom- 


mon ability. In 1837 he was nominated for Congress, and was elected by an 
almost unanimous vote of his district. While in Congress he made the 
famous speech on the resolution recognizing his uncle's claim to the inven- 
tion of the steamboat and bestowing on that uncle's blind and only surviv- 
ing son a gold medal as a mark of such recognition.^ 

While serving in Congress his two children died of scarlet fever. After 
that no argument of his friends or constituents could ever induce him again 
to enter public life. He strove to drown his sorrow in mental and physical 
toil ; living in the future and the past. He never entirely recovered his 
elasticity and soon became prematurely old. 

The outbreak of the Civil War brought with it new calamities. He loved 
his country next to his children. He believed that the General Government 
had no right to coerce a State. Although he survived the war, grief and ap- 
prehension aided greatly to break the thread of life. He died in Greenville, 
April 6, 1868. 

On February 9, 1839, Edward Rumsey delivered his famous speech be- 
fore the House of Representatives of the United States. In this speech he 
reviewed the history of the invention of the devices for propelling boats by 
steam, showed that his uncle, James Rumsey, was entitled to the distinction 
of being the first inventor, and asked that Congress present to James Rum- 
sey, jr., the only surviving child of James Rumsey, a suitable gold medal, 
commemorative of his father's services in giving to the world his discovery 
of using steam for the propulsion of boats and watercraft. The resolution 
awarding such a medal passed the House by a unanimous vote, but for no 
reason given was rejected by the Senate. It is probable that the Senate rec- 
ognized Fulton as the first man to put steam to practical use in connection 
with navigation, and therefore ignored the fact that Rumsey was the real 
inventor. At any rate, there was no gold medal nor reward for the Rum- 
seys, notwithstanding reports to the contrary. 

The Rumsey claim had its advocates many years before Edward Rumsey 
delivered this speech. It has them now, more and more every year, and will 
in all probability continue to have them in increasing numbers until Rum- 
sey is universally recognized as the original inventor. No man in recent 
years gathered more evidence in defense of James Rumsey 's claim than did 
John Moray, of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, whose manuscript on the 
subject was almost finished when he died, January 15, 1912. 

No stone marks the grave of James Rumsey ; no monument has been 
erected to his memory. He was buried in London, in that part of St. Mar- 
garet's churchyard which has since been converted into a thoroughfare. 
The fact that James Rumsey was the real inventor of the application of 
steam for the propulsion of boats will in all probability be some day recog- 
nized by the world. Edward Rumsey 's speech will then be more fully ap- 
preciated, and Muhlenbergers will refer with even greater pride to the fact 
that he was a citizen of Greenville. 

1 James Rumsey's only son, James (who was deaf and dumb as well as blind), 
and his brother, Doctor Edward Rumsey (the father of Honorable Edward Rum- 
sey), lived and died in Christian County. 


THE Pond River country of Muhlenberg is a section of the county that 
offers the archaeologist, geologist, botanist, and local historian a 
very interesting field of research. Murphy's Lake and all the other 
so-called lakes of the Pond River country are now, as in days gone 
by, frequented by many fishermen. Few localities are better known to local 
Nimrods than the Pond River bottoms and the Pond River hills. In olden 
times deer and turkeys were more numerous in this part of the county than 
in any other. The last deer was shot about the year 1890.1 No wild turkeys 
have been seen during the past few years. None of the old pigeon-roosts 
have been visited by wild pigeons since about the year 1860. The 'coon, 'pos- 
sum, and fox hunters or those looking for squirrels or birds still find this a 
good field for game. It is also a good field for those who are interested in 
local traditions. Some of the county 's most prominent pioneers settled near 
Murphy's Lake and in other parts of the Pond River country, and many of 
them are still represented there by descendants. 

Murphy's Lake is twelve miles southwest of Greenville. There are many 
interesting places between the courthouse and the lake. The first of these 
along the road from Greenville is Fair View Farm, where, beginning in 1885 
and continuing for about eight years, the iMuhlenberg County Fair was 
held. A few miles farther on is Sharon Baptist Church, and near it, under 
a concave bluff of sandstone, is the well-known Rock Spring. Where the 
Murphy's Lake road turns off from the Lower Hopkinsville road is Mount 
Pisgah Church, built in 1851 and abandoned a few years ago. Less than a 
half mile from Mount Pisgah are the ruins of Old Liberty, and beyond this 
famous landmark — in what, years ago, was sometimes called "The Hoe-Cake 
Country" — are Olive Branch and Green's chapels. Of these five churches 
Old Liberty is by far the oldest and most historic. 

Old Liberty is now a ruin — four tottering log walls, each about twenty- 
five feet long, enclosing a sunken floor and a caved-in roof, mingled with 
broken benches and a weatherbeaten pulpit. The hewed logs, partly shaded 
by a large white oak, show that they at one time were well chinked with 
wood and pointed with sand and lime. Its four window- and two door- 

1 Up to the year 1867 deer were plentiful in the Pond River country. The high 
water of that year forced them to the hills, where a great number were slaugh- 
tered. Tm 1884 they were again driven to the hills by high water and practically all 
of them were shot. 



frames will soon collapse ; with them will fall the walls, and so, bye-and-bye, 
no part of this old landmark will be left to mark the site of the once famous 
church. Near the ruins is the Old Liberty burying-ground. In it are the 
myrtle-covered and stone-marked graves of many a Martin, Lovell, Eades, 
Shelton, Allison, Brothers, Luckett, and Jameson, all of whom were among 
the old families of this community. -; _. _ 

More people have ancestors buried at Old Liberty than in any other 
country graveyard in the county. Tradition says the original church has 
built about 1816, and was then called New Libertv. In the course of tita^ 


A few years after it had been abandoned by the Lovells and much of the original 

building had been removed 

the first log house was replaced by a second, which was abandoned about 
1851. Some years later the third or last house was erected, and was used 
until about 1890.2 

Among the well-known first-comers who lived in the Old Liberty neigh- 
borhood and the Murphy's Lake country were: Samuel Allison and his son, 
John Adair; John S. Atkisou, sr., John Bone, Divinity Grace, N. Green, 
William and Jacob Imbler, pioneer Jarroll or Joiles (perhaps Jerrold), 
Jesse Kirby, Michael Lovell, the Martins, Jesse Murphy, Jacob Oglesby, 
John and Edmund Owen, George 0. Prowse, Miles Putnam, Joseph C. and 
Richard D. Reynolds, William Rice, John Richardson, Newton B. Riddick, 
Richard Thompson, and Reverend Samuel M. Wilkins. One of the earliest 

2 A chapter on "Old Liberty Church," by R. T. Martin, appears elsewhere in this 



of these settlers was Michael Lovell, who in his time was, and to this day 
still is, referred to as "the Man from Maryland. "'"^ 

Most of the other pioneers of the Old Liberty neighborhood were Caro- 
linians and Virginians. Among the North Carolinians were pioneer Samuel 
Allison and his wife Margaret Dickson, both of whom were born in the 
province of Ulster, Ireland. They came to Logan County about 1796, and a 

few years later settled in what be- 
came known as the Friendship 
neighborhood. Samuel Allison was 
famous for his wit and as being the 
best rifle-shot in his end of the 
county. He was bom about 1767 
and died January 20, 1827. His 
wife was born about 1773 and died 
December 24, 1834. Both are bur- 
ied near Friendship Church. Mr. 
and Mrs. Allison were well edu- 
cated, and so w^ere their children. 
Their daughter, Nancy R., married 
Samuel Jackson. Their sons were 
(;harles McLean, William Dickson, 
Young Ewing, John Adair, and 
Samuel Henley. 

Charles McLean Allison, who 
was among the first to enlist in 
Alney McLean's company, died in 
camp at New Orleans of swamp 
fever, three weeks after the battle was fought in 1815. 

John Adair Allison was the only one of the five sons who lived and died 
in Muhlenberg. He was liorn February 3, 1803, and during his day was one 


3 John Bone was a Revolutionary soldier, one of the early settlers near what is 
now the Webster McCown farm (south of Bancroft), and who died there about 
1841. He was the father of Mark, Thomas, John, Mrs. Louisa (Peter) Duvall, Mrs. 
James Green, Mrs. Wyatt Collins, and Mrs. George Barnett. 

Nathaniel Green came to Muhlenberg in 1816, where he died about 1850. He 
was the only son of Joseph Green and his wife, who was a Miss Eaves. He was 
born in Virginia, where he married Lucy Richardson, daughter of Thomas Richard- 
son, and in 1815 came to Kentucky. They were the parents of James, William 
Joseph, Thomas M., Samuel, Miss Polly, and Mrs. Martha (Doctor) Lowe, all of 
whom, like their parents, were well-known Pond River people. 

Michael Lovell's first wife was Mary Ingram. To them were born Joseph, John, 
Sarah Ann, and Mrs. Mary E. (William K.) Morgan. His second wife was Rachel 
Eades. To them were born Charles W., Sam B., Lewis H., Miss Frankie, Leander 
W., Michael, jr., and Thomas J. His third wife was a daughter of John Reno. To 
them was born one child, James Lovell. Michael Lovell died near Old Liberty on 
February 26, 1874, aged about one hundred years. 

William Rice, a Revolutionary soldier and army blacksmith, settled in Muhlen- 
berg about 1800 and died near Bancroft March 16, 1824. Among his fourteen sons 
and four daughters were William, jr., Jesse, Larkin, Matthew, Claborn, T. Jeffer- 
son, James Benjamin, and Ezekiel Rice. Ezekiel Rice was born in 1774, married 
Ann Watkins, daughter of pioneer James Watkins, and died in 1847. Among Eze- 
kiel Rice's children was Moses M. Rice (born 1817, died 1894), who married 
Sarah Amandaville Drake, and among whose children is Judge James J. Rice. 



of the most prominent citizens in the Pond River conntry. He died near 
Old Liberty, April 2, 1875. He and his wife, Frances Watkins, were the 
parents of five children, among whom was Finis ^McLean Allison, who, as 
stated in the chapter entitled "In 1870, " was a State Senator and one of 
the best-known men in the county.'* 

The other three sons of Samuel Allison removed to Henderson County in 
early manhood. William Dickson Allison was deputy clerk of iMuhlenberg 
under Charles Fox Wing. He went to Henderson in 1822 to become deputy 
clerk there. In 1824 Judge Alney McLean appointed him clerk, and he held 


that office without interruption until his death in 1860. Young Ewing Alli- 
son went to Henderson in 1824 to become his brother's deputy, became pre- 
siding justice and afterward county judge, succeeded his brother as clerk, 
and was in office fifty years. Samuel Henley Allison was sheriff of Hen- 
derson County for one term — the tliree brothers holding office at the 
same time. 

As Charles Fox Wing in Muhlenberg trained and equipped young men 
for public service, so the Allisons did in Henderson, and a large number of 
successful men of affairs were started from the Henderson courthouse under 
them. The Allisons were all men of strong personality, and their wit and 
humorous exploits were quoted widely. Tn James Weir's "Lonz Powers'' 

* John Adair Allison was the father of James Watkins, Finis McLean, Samuel 
(Henley, and William Young Allison, and Mrs. Ann Luro (W. Britton) Davis. 



Samuel Allison and three of his sons are sketched under the disguise of 
"Allston and the Allston boys." But they were also men of great usefulness 
and influence. \ 

Among those who during the first years of the Eighteenth Century set- 
tled in the neighborhood of Old Liberty was I\Irs. Susannah Walker Martin, 

widow of Thomas Martin of Virginia, 
who was a Revolutionary soldier. She 
moved to Muhlenberg in 1805. Her 
three daughters, Betsy, Mary, and 
Nancy, remained only a short time. 
Her son, Dabney Amos, who had lo- 
cated in Georgia in 1800, later moved 
to Alabama, where he died in 1850. 
Of her six children two settled in the 
county — ^William Martin and Hutson 
Martin. These two are the fore- 
fathers of all the Martins in IMuhlen- 
berg except the few who are descend- 
ants of Jefferson Martin and another 
William Martin, who were brothers 
of Hugh Martin. William Martin, 
son of Thomas, was the pioneer of 
the plug-tobacco manufacturing busi- 
ness in Muhlenberg. Hutson ]\Iartin 
was a successful farmer near Old 
Liberty, and one of the foremost men 
in the county. His wife, Anna Lock- 
ridge IMartin, treated many of the 
sick in the neighborhood with her 
own preparations, made of native 
herbs, and up to the time of her death, which occurred in her eighty-second 
year, was known as "Mother Martin. "•^ 


s William Martin was born in Virginia December 23, 1776, and died in Muhlen- 
berg County November 5, 1851. His wife, Jane (Campbell) Martin, was born in 
Virginia October 22, 1776, and died near Old Liberty in August, 1851. Mr. and 
Mrs. Martin were the parents of eight children: (1) Thomas Lawrence, among 
whose eight children (as stated in the chapter on Tobacco) is Richard T. Martin; 
<2) William Campbell, who married America Niblack, their two sons being Hugh 
Niblack and Thomas Hutson Martin; (3) Mrs. Eliza Ann (Reverend Samuel M.) 
Wilkins; (4) Mrs. Susannah W. (James) Hancock; (5) Dabney A., who married 
Lizzie Britt, their only child, Jennie, marrying Hanson Browder, of Clinton, Ken- 
tucky; (6) Charles C, who married Nancy Y. Reynolds; (7) David; (8) Ellington 
Walker, who married Emily Elliott, daughter of Richard Elliott. 

Hutson Martin was born in Virginia May 27, 1781, and died in Muhlenberg 
July 7, 1838. His wife died January 29, 1869, aged eighty-one years. Mr. and Mrs. 
Hutson Martin were the parents of twelve children: (1) Andrew L., who married 
Fannie Rice; (2) Mrs. Mary (George) Ingram; (3) Mrs. Jane (Jackson) Rice; 
(4) Lucrecia; (5) William W., who married Mary Ann Lovelace; (6) Mrs. Susan 
(James) Rice; (7) John; (8) Mrs. Ellen (John) Grigsby; (9) James, who married 
Elizabeth Bell; (10) Felix J., who married Caroline Eaves; (11) Mrs. Laura Ann 
(James W.) Allison, who is the mother of Mrs. Anna Allison Holmes and Profes- 
sor B. Frank Allison and who, after the death of her first husband, married Azel 
M. Terry; (12) Miss Lure Martin. 



Among the well-known first-comers who settled in the Pond River coun- 
try above Old Liberty and Murphy's Lake was Micajah Wells, who came 
from North Carolina before the county was organized, settling in the lower 
Long Creek country, where he and his three brothers did much toward 
opening up that section. He 
became a candidate for the 
Legislature in 1810, and re- 
mained one for sixteen suc- 
cessive years, when, in 1826, 
he was finally chosen. Al- 
though he wanted the office 
"just once for the fun of it," as 
he expressed it, he neverthe- 
less did much, tradition says, 
"for the good of the county 
his whole life long." He 
served as a justice of the 
peace for many years, and 
also filled various other hutson martin old place 

county offices.^ Near Old Liberty, in 1900 

One of Micajah Well's neighbors was Strother Jones, who lived near 
Long Creek, in the southern part of what is known as the Lead Hill coun- 
try. Strother Jones was in his day 
one of the most polished citizens in 
the southwestern part of the 
county. He was born September 
20, 1781, came to Muhlenberg in 
1822, and died on his farm Feb- 
ruary 17, 1859. His eldest son and 
only child by his first wife was 
Judge William G. Jones, who 
served as county judge from 1854 
to 1862. Judge Jones was born 
June 4, 1813, and died August 6, 
1891. Strother Jones' second wife 
was Elizabeth Ann Hancock. Three 
children were born of this second 
marriage: Thomas J. Jones, who 
was county clerk during the Civil 
War, and who at the time of his 
death (February 22, 1904) was 


6 Micajah Wells was born January 1, 1772, and died October 19, 1851. He and 
his brothers John, Frank, and Wyatt Wells were among the pioneers in the upper 
Pond River and Long Creek country. Micajah Wells was the father of six chil- 
dren: (1) Mosley P.; (2) Mrs. Lourana S. (Mosley Collins) Drake; (3) Mrs. Sally 
Grissom; (4) Mrs. Patsy (Reverend Silas) Drake; (5) Mrs. Anna (Bdmond) 
.Drake; (6) Joseph J., who was drowned in Pond River February 12, 1832. His 
sons-in-law Mosley Collins, Reverend Silas, and Edmond Drake, jr., were sons of 
pioneer Albritton Drake. 



running a store he had established in Greenville about fifty years before; 
John M. Jones, a Confederate soldier, and James ^I. Jones. The two last 
were "Forty-niners." 

A story Strother Jones heard relative to a small band of Indians which, a 
number of years before his arrival in the county, had passed through the 
neighborhood in which he settled, is still told by a few of his descendants, 
and runs as follows : 

One day at noon a man named Walker returned to his cabin from his 
work in the field. He sent one of his children, a girl nine years of age, to a 
spring some two hundred yards away to get some fresh water. While the 
girl was at the spring she heard screaming at the house, and a moment later 
saw some Indians set the place on fire. Being frightened, she concealed her- 
self in some bushes. After the house had burned almost to the ground, 
there being nothing to indicate that the Indians were still about, she walked 
to the ruins and discovered that her parents and the five other children had 
been murdered and their bodies thrown in a pile near the burning house. 
She immediately notified the nearest neighbor. A pursuing party was at 
once organized. They trailed the Indians to the Pond River bottoms, but 
there all trace of the murderers was lost. T'^pon their return the pursuers 
buried the Walkers near the ruins of the cabin, which stood within two hun- 
dred yards of the spot where Strother Jones ' house was later erected. 

The Clarks, who were among the pioneers living below ]\Iurphy's Lake, 
are no longer represented in the county, but their name is perpetuated in 
the name of Clark's Ferry Bridge, built across Pond River where, for many 
years, the Clarks ran a ferry and grist mill. For a while the place was 

called Pond River Mills. The 
first bridge built here was a 
wooden bridge placed on 
stone abutments, erected by 
Alfred Johnson about 1858. 
In December, 1861, this 
bridge was burned by Con- 
federates under Forrest. In 
1862 the ferry was reestab- 
lished and operated until 
1890, when the New Clark's 
Ferry Bridge was erected on 
the old but solid stone abut- 
ments. In this same neigh- 
borhood stood the well- 
known David Clark sugar 
camp. About the year 1880 Fobel & Krauth, of Louisville, attempted to 
establish a small colony of Germans and German-Americans on the site that 
had been abandoned by the Clarks and their associates. Although the few 
German-Americans who moved there remained but a short time, since then 
this region has been known as the "Dutch Farm." 

A mile below Clark's Ferry Bridge is Harpe's Hill, overlooking the 
Pond River bottoms and also overlooking an "arm" or "bay" of "second 




bottom," which extends far beyond the river bottoms and is semicireled hy 
Harpe's Hill and other high and picturesque hills. Crops never fail in this 
fertile area of well-drained farms. In biblical days people used to go down 
into Egypt to buy corn. Harpe's Plill valley is, therefore, frequently re- 
ferred to as "Egypt." When their OMn crops fall short many of the farm- 
ers of Muhlenberg and Hopkins counties go to this never-failing region, 
where they can be supplied with corn and other agricultural products that 
are not only as good as the best, but usually "a little bit better." Near the 
foot of one of the hills overlooking the level and slightly rolling floor of this 
gigantic amphitheater is the home of William A. Armstrong, a mathemati- 
cian and student of the classics, who before his retirement was one of the 
best-known surveyors in the county. 

Major Jesse Gates was the first of the prominent pioneers who settled in 
the Harpe's Hill country. He was a Revolutionary soldier, having fought 
under Francis Marion in 
South Carolina. He came 
to ]\Iuhlenberg about 1795 
or shortly thereafter. He 
opened up what was for 
many years considered one 
of the best farms in the 
Pond River country. He 
owned thirty or more 
slaves, all of whom were 
employed on his planta- 
tion. Although he never 
held any of the h i g h 
county offices, few men of 
his time did more to pro- the so-called harpe's "house" 

mote public interests than On Harpe's nm. near Pond River 

Major Gates. He died August 10, 1881, at the age of seventy-five years. 

Major Jesse Gates was born in North Carolina about the year 1756. He 
was a son of Jesse Gates, sr., who although not a soldier in the Revolution 
did much toward promoting the war. Jesse Gates, jr.. however, much to the 
satisfaction. of his father, took an active part in the struggle. After the Rev- 
olution Jesse Gates, sr., gave his son Jesse practically all his estate, to the 
exclusion of his son-in-law Coghill, who it is said was either not in sympathy 
with the American colonies or was an outright Tory. Having received none 
of the expected fortune, Coghill 's feeling toward his brother-in-law was 
anything but friendly. 

In those days every man was obliged to attend the militia nnisters. which 
took place once a month. Coghill and Gates were members of the sanie com- 
pany, and on nearly every drilling day a fight would take place between the 
two. Coghill was large and strong. Gates was small ; the consequence was 
that Gates got the worst of the fight every time. ^Matters went on in this way 
for several years, when one day Gates notified his brother-in-law that if he 
attacked him at the next muster he would kill him. The day arrived and 
Coghill, according to his custom, gave Gates his usual whipping. Gates had 


his flintlock with him and threatened to shoot, and would have done so had 
Coghill not begged him to give him a chance for his life. Gates agreed to 
let Coghill go home — a distance of two miles — to get the gun he said he pre- 
ferred to use in this duel instead of the one he had with him. The two men 
and some of their friends then mounted their horses and started for Cog- 
hill's farm. When the crowd arrived at the end of the short lane leading 
up to the house, Coghill put spurs to his horse and told Gates to shoot. Cog- 
hill evidently felt confident that Gates would miss him, and that his gun be- 
ing loaded he could kill Gates before Gates could reload. Gates fired and 
killed Coghill instantly. 

Gates rode home, procured some money and a pocket compass, bade his 
family good-bye, mounted his horse, and with his flintlock lying across his 
saddle started west. He rode through Tennessee into Mississippi. While at 
Natchez, stopping at a tavern, he picked up a newspaper and there read an 
advertisement giving a full description of him and also offering a reward 
for his capture. That same day he started for Kentucky and shortly after- 
ward landed in the Pond River country, procured some land, notified his 
family of his whereabouts, and had his oldest son, William Gates — who was 
then a young man — move the family, slaves, and personal property to the 
new home he had provided for them. His friends in North Carolina advised 
him not to return, for although he would not be prosecuted he would in all 
probability be killed by some of Coghill 's friends. During the course of a 
number of years advice was frequently sent him to be on his guard, for 
some of the friends of Coghill were coming to kill him. Although he for a 
while feared he would be shot from ambush, no attempt to kill or arrest him 
was ever made. 

Major Jesse Gates and his family lived happily and prospered in their 
new home. After the death of his first wife, wiio was the mother of his five 
oldest children, he married again and became the father of twelve more. 
All of his children except one, Mrs. Campbell, settled in Muhlenberg, where 
most of them are now represented by many descendants.'^ His oldest son, 
William, married Elizabeth Earle, who was a daughter of pioneer Bayless 
Earle, a Revolutionary soldier. Her husband was a soldier in the War of 
1812. Her brother, Richard Bayless Earle, was a Mexican War soldier. 
She was the grandmother of four Federal soldiers, William Gates Randolph, 
liieutenant Ed M. Randolph, George Gates, and Wallace W. Gates, and of 
one Confederate soldier (who fought on the side with which she sym- 
pathized), Charles R. Gates. Her eldest son, Bayless Earle Gates, was the 
father of J. Wallace Gates, who was one of the most progressive farmers 
and stock-men in the county. Mrs. Elizabeth Earle Gates was one of the 

'' The first wife of Major Jesse Gates was, according to a vague family tradition, 
a Miss Caraway, sister of a Captain John Caraway. His second wife was Zilpah 
Mason, to whom he was married April 13, 1798, and who died October 1, 1849. 
Major Jesse Gates was the father of (1) William; (2) Jethro; (3) Mrs. Nancy 
(Charles) Campbell; (4) David; (5) Bryant; (6) John Mason; (7) Mrs. Betsy 
(V. L.) Dillingham; (8) Jesse; (9) Richard M.; (10) Rachael (Mrs. Lemuel Bog- 
gess, later Mrs. Wickliffe) ; (11) Mariah; (12) Mrs. Zilpah (Edmond) Dunn; (13) 
Matthew Mason; (14) Harriet (Mrs. Gough, Mrs. Robert Wickliffe, jr., Mrs. Wil- 
liams); (15) Oliver Hayes (bachelor); (16) Wyatt; (17) Charles Campbell Gates, 



best-known and most highly esteemed women of the Pond River country. 
She was born in 1790 and died in 1884.8 

Another well-known woman in the Harpe's Hill country was Mrs. Clara 
Garris Stanley. She was probably the last of the pioneers to pass away 
who had seen the headless body of Big Harpe lying near Harpe's Hill. ^ 

John S. Eaves, in 1805, settled in 

the valley near the foot of Harpe's 
Hill, not far from the Jesse Gates 
plantation. He became one of the 
most influential men in Muhlenberg, 
representing the county in the I-iegis- 
lature in 1834. He died in Green- 
ville in 1867. He was the father of 
seven children, all of whom were well- 
known people. No man ever born in 
Muhlenberg County was more highly 
esteemed than his youngest son, 
Charles Eaves, who long before 1857, 
when at the age of thirty-two he was 
elected to the Legislature, had won 
the love of his fellow-citizens. John 
S. Eaves' fourth son, John S. Eaves. 
jr., was for many years a merchant 
and farmer near Clark's Ferry. John 
S., jr., was in turn succeeded in his 
business by his son George W. Eaves, 
jr., who until his removal to Green- 
ville was identified with the develop- 
ment of the Harpe's Hill country. 

Members of the Legislature are, as a rule, among the best-known citi- 
zens in their counties, and because of this their lives are discussed by a 
greater number of people and for a longer time than are those of other citi- 
zens, who are seldom heard of in tradition outside their own neighborhood, 
regardless of the good they may have done in their vicinity. The lives of 
the members of the Legislature who lived in the Pond River country are 
therefore, as a rule, more widely discussed in the oral history of the earlier 
days than are the lives of some of its other one-time prominent men. 


8 William Dates and his wife Elizabeth Earl Gates were the parents of nine 
children: Bayless Earle, Mrs. Geraldine M. (Ashford D.) Randolph, Thomas, 
Charles, Jethro, William W., Martha, Jesse, and James Wilson Gates. 

9 Mrs. Clara Garris Stanley, wife of James Stanley, was in her day one of the 
most accomplished women in Western Muhlenberg. It is said she was one of the 
best-informed women on the early history of the Pond River country. She lived 
near Harpe's Hill when Big Harpe was killed, and continued to make that locality 
her home until shortly before her death in 1864. She had read Judge Hall's story 
of the Harpes and also T. Marshall Smith's version, and often remarked that both 
were in the main correct. Mr. and Mrs. James Stanley were the parents of Rus- 
sell, Alfred, Wickliffe, David, and Gilbert Stanley and Mrs. Elizabeth (William) 
Dillinder and Mrs. Matilda (Henry) Thomas. 



The first man living in the Pond River country to represent Miihlenberg 
County in the Legislature was John ^Morgan. Mica j ah Wells, as already 
stated, was a member of the Legislature in 1826. In 1828, and during the 
eight years following, Muhlenberg was represented in the Legislature by 
men who lived in the lower Pond River country. Most of the members who 
served from 1838 to 1853 came from the Pond River country, and many of 
those who were elected during a later period were born and reared in that 
saine section of the county. Among the well-known first-comers who settled 
in the Pond River country below ITarpe's Hill were the McNarys, Shorts, 
and Morgans. 

The McNarys lived about six miles below Harpe's Hill near the edge of 
Pond River bottom, on the lower Greenville and ]Madisonville Road. Wil- 
liam McNary was the forefather of this w'ell-known family. He was born in 

Scotland, and shortly after his ar- 
rival in America settled near Lexing- 
ton, where he lived for more than 
twenty years, doing much toward 
promoting the interests of the Presby- 
terian church. In 1812 he settled on 
what has ever since been called the 
^IcNary place, or Ellwood. McNary 
Station, although some distance from 
the old home, was so called in honor 
of his son, Hugh AV. AVilliam AIc- 
Nary was the father of three sons, 
Hugh W., William C, and Doctor 
Thomas L. ; the latter lived and died 
near Princeton. 

William C. lived near the place 
first settled by his father, where he 
died in 1871 at the age of seventy- 
four. He represented the county in 
the Legislature five times between the 
years 1830 and 1853. He was a member of the State Senate from 1846 to 
1850. None of his four children made iMuhlenberg their home. 

Hugh W. ^McNary was born in Fayette County, Kentucky, November 
25, 1790, and came to Muhlenberg at the age of twenty-two. In 1816 he 
went to South Carolina, where for ten years he dealt in groceries and spec- 
ulated in cotton. In 1822 he married Miss Sarah A. Scott, one of the most 
highly accomplished young ladies of Columbia, South Carolina. In 1826 he 
returned to Aluhlenberg with his wife, reinvested the money he had made 
in the South, and soon accumulated a fortune. He was at one time one of 
the wealthiest men in Aluhlenberg County. He owned a number of slaves, 
ran a large farm, bought and sold livestock, operated a large still, and found 
a market not only for his own products but for those of most of the people 
living in the lower Pond River country. None of his local contemporaries 
were more generous, better read, or more refined than he. In 1850 he 
erected a frame residence which, up to 1879 (when the McNary family 




moved to Greenville), was considered one of the best built and most artistic- 
ally furnished homes in the county. The mantels and many of the door- 
and window-frames were hand carved. The front porch was torn away a 
few years ago, and owing to its removal and to a lack of paint and repairs 
the building has lost much of its former beauty ; nevertheless, the most cas- 
ual observer can not fail to see that it must have been an exceptionally beau- 
tiful residence in its day. It was in this house that Hugh W. McNary died, 
October 7, 1872, at the age of 

David Short came to Muhlenberg County from Virginia some time dur- 
ing the first ten years of the Eighteenth Century and settled on a tract of 


land bordering on Pond River, about a mile above what is now the McLean 
County line. The house he erected — "The David Short Old Brick," as it is 
called — was when it was first built, and is now, one of the largest and most 
substantial brick residences in IMuhlenberg. An inscription painted in the 
arch of the door-frame reads, "D. 1821 S." This, although it has evidently 
been repainted since first recorded there, undoubtedly indicates the year the 
house was built. David Short devoted most of his time to the cultivation of 
his large farms and to the promotion of better laws. His well-built house 
proclaims the fact that he was a man of means. He was a member of the 

^0 Hugh W. McNary and his wife Sarah A. McNary (who was born December 16, 
1806, and died October 15, 1868) were the parents of six children: W. Scott, Sam- 
uel F., John A., Miss Anna, Mrs. Sally (George W., jr.) Eaves, and Miss Mattie Mc- 
Nary, who is and long has been one of the most highly esteemed women in the 



Legislature in 1828, 1829, and 1832. His son William T. Short filled the 
same office in 1847, and his son George W. Short filled it in 1849. David 
Short was born January 19, 1 779, and died December 30, 1845. He was the 
father of ten children, all of whom were influential citizens. 

Among others who settled in i\Iuhlenberg about the same time as David 
Short were Jacob Short and Jacob Jagoe, whose wife, Susan (Short) Jagoe, 
was a sister of David Short. Samuel Short, another brother, after living in 
this neighborhood awhile moved to Illinois and later returned to Sacra- 
mento, where he died. The family name, it is said, was originally spelled 

Schartz. One tradition has it that 
the Shorts were born in Germany 
and came to Virginia in their 
youth, while according to another 
they were born in Virginia. ii 

John Morgan, who represented 
the county in the State Legislature 
in 1806, was one of the early set- 
tlers in the Pond River country. 
None of the pioneers took more in- 
terest in saddle-horses or owned 
better ones than he. Every win- 
ter, for more than fifty years, 
he wore a cap made from the fur 
of white foxes he occasionally 
caught in the hills near his home. 
He and his brothers Willis and 
Charles jMorgan, who were also 
well-known early settlers, ran a 
grist mill at old Millport for many 
years. John IMorgan was a digni- 
fied and scholarly man, a wealthy 
farmer and an extensive slave-owner, and was also one of the most liberal 
men of his day. He was born in Virginia ^March 17, 1779, and died at his 

HUGH W. McNARY, 1871 

11 David Short and his wife Jane Scott Short, of Virginia, were the parents of: 
(1) Mrs. Sarah (David) Evans, who later married A. M. Spurlin; (2) George Wash- 
ington Short; (3) Joseph Poague Short; (4) David T. Short, who first married 
Martha Henry, next Elizabeth Arnold; (5) Mrs. Jane P. (Sanders) Eaves; (6) Wil- 
liam T., who married Elizabeth Greu; (7) Miss Elizabeth; (8) Jacob L., who mar- 
ried Emma Mitchell and who later moved to Texas; (9) Jonathan Short, who mar- 
ried Lucy Wing; (10) Mrs. Susan Ann (William) Harbin. 

Jacob Short was born August 20, 1772, and died October 26, 1858. His wife, 
Isabelle Scott Short, was born August 18, 1787, and died October 19, 1860. They 
were the parents of: (1) Mrs. Mary (or Polly) (Samuel) Whitmer; (2) Mrs. Eva 
(Louis) Phillips; (3) Jacob (bachelor); (4) Samuel, who married Sarah Garst; 
(5) William, who married Nancy Miller, daughter of Captain Isaac Miller. Jacob 
Short's children lived in the lower part of Muhlenberg and in southern McLean 
County, where all of them were well-known people. 

Jacob Jagoe was the father of three sons, Abraham G., Benjamin, and William 
Jagoe. These three brothers in their day were among the best-known farmers in 
the lower Pond River country. 


home north of Earles September 25, 1858. His wife, Jane Morgan, was born 
in 1783 and died in 1844.12 

A few years ago David W. Whitmer, while cutting down a beech tree on 
his farm on the edge of Pond River bottoms, near old Millport, unearthed a 
slab of sandstone on which was carved "Daniel Boone, May 22, 1772." This 
rock was covered with a few inches of soil, and one end of it was partly 
overgrown by a large root. Conditions indicated that it had lain there 
about fifty years. The fact that Daniel Boone 's name and an old date ap- 
pear on it caused many to de- 
clare that the carving was done 
by no other than Daniel Boone. 
Although Boone made his first 
trip to Kentucky in 1769, and 
may have been in the State in 
1772, he evidently did not cut 
his name on this rock. The let- 
tering is like that found on 
many of the old grave-stones in 
the southern part of the county, 
and it is therefore quite likely 
that this slab was taken to the so-called daniel boone rock 

Millport many years ago by 

some experienced stone-cutter to serve as a sample of his work. The fact 
that pioneer John Morgan had a son named Daniel Boone ]\Iorgan, 
who lived in this locality for many years and was a well-known physician, 
may have influenced the stone-cutter to select the name of the great scout on 
which to show his skill. This stone weighs eighteen pounds, is three inches 
thick, and its face measures about nine by twelve inches. 

Murphy's Lake,!^ as stated in the beginning of this chapter, is in the 
Pond River country, about twelve miles southwest of Greenville. This so- 
called lake is about three miles long, but its width is by no means in propor- 
tion to its length, for it is only from forty to fifty feet wide. It is part of 
the old Pond River bed and meanders for some three miles in Pond River 
bottom, at a distance of about half a mile from the river itsdf . The lake 
proper consists of two long, deep bends of the old river, connected by a num- 
ber of smaller and shallower crooks. In places above and below these two 
lagoons the old bed is nothing more than a filled-up or marshy slough. The 
upper of these two bodies of water is known as Fisherman's Bend or Big 

^2 John Morgan and his wife Jane Irvin Morgan were the parents of eight chil- 
dren, Charles, John, Doctor Daniel Boone, Doctor James Robert, William K., Mrs. 
Susan Lovin, Mrs. Margaret Lovin, and Mrs. Jane (William) Eades. 

William K. Morgan and his wife, Mary E. Lovell Morgan, were among the best- 
known people in the Pond River country, where they lived on a farm and where 
they reared eight sons and four daughters, most of whom live in the county and 
are among Muhlenberg's most progressive citizens. • 

13 Murphy's Lake was so called after Jesse Murphy, who was born in 1781, set- 
tled near the banks of the lake about the year 1805, and who lived there until his 
death in 1846. Jesse Murphy was the father of Thomas Murphy, who was born in 
1825 and died in 1862. Thomas Murphy was the father of James R., W. Jesse, and 
Samuel W. Murphy and Mrs. Mary (Julian) Wicks. 


Bend, and the lower is called Green's Bend. The Murphy's Lake bridge 
crosses one of the shallow links that help unite the two bends. During the 
dry season practically all the water disappears from these shallow interven- 
ing crooks, and at such times they show that they are nothing more than a 
chain of brush-grown sloughs, more or less filled with logs and snags. These 
various sloughs are by no means picturesque. However, Murphy's Lake 
proper offers many attractive views. Varieties of aquatic plants flourish in 
the lake and on its banks. Among such vegetation are great clusters of a 
species of lily known as Bonnets or Spatterdock. In many places the two 
large bends are gracefully lined down to the very water's edge with small 
willows and other shrublike growths. On the shore stand majestic old oaks, 
beech and gum, shading here and there a growth of short cane. Some of 
these trees, draped with wild grapevine, bend over the banks of the lake and 
in many places form unbroken arches with those leaning from the other side. 

The territory lying between the present bed of Pond River and Mur- 
phy's Lake, with its inlet, sloughs, outlet, and ''scatters," comprises some 
three thousand acres, all of which with the exception of about two hundred 
acres is rich bottom land. In fact, the richest soil in the county is found in 
the Pond River bottoms. ]\Iost of it, however, is subject to floods, and there- 
• fore comparatively little of it is as yet under cultivation. Much of it prob- 
ably never will be redeemed until certain parts of the river's channel are 
straightened out and the many sloughs properly drained. 

Isaac Bard recognized the superior quality of this soil, and in 1853 made 
an attempt to give the three thousand acres around Murphy's Lake better 
drainage. He dug a straight ditch from the head of the "scatters" of Mur- 
phy's Lake to Martin's Creek. He abandoned the ditch, however — not be- 
cause his work was ridiculed by many of the people, but because his time 
was taken up with other affairs. No attempt has since been made to restore 
Bard's Ditch, and the land in that vicinity is still awaiting better drainage. 

Lakes of this character, originating from disappearing streams, are 
found in a number of places in the Pond River bottoms. Above Murphy's 
Lake is Atkinson's Little Lake, or as it is frequently called, "The Little 
Lake at Fish Pond Hill." This lake is about three hundred yards long. Old 
Lake, a quarter of a mile below Clark's Ferry Bridge, is a crescent-shaped 
lagoon with its two points coming up to Pond River. Boat Yard Creek or 
White Ash Pond, near Harpe's Hill, is another lake of this character, but 
receives most of its water from the small streams that drain the valley near 
it. All these lakes, including Murphy's Lake, have an inlet and an outlet, 
which are as a rule simply long, narrow, winding swags. In these places, 
where the outlets are very shallow, occur the so-called "scatters," which 
during an overflow permit the water to run in any and every direction until 
it finds its way to the main channel of the river. 

The lagoon kno\^^l as Boat Yard Creek is so called from the fact that in 
the early days, and dovm to as late as 1860, flat-boats were built on its 
banks. Richard Aycock was one of the best-known boat-builders at this 
place. Some of the flat-boats made here were loaded with hoop-poles cut in 
the Pond River country and shipped to New Orleans, while others were sent 
down to Green River and there sold to men who used them for various pur- 



poses. John S. Eaves sent tobacco, pork, and lard from this neighborhood to 
New Orleans as early as 1818. William Oates built a number of flat-boats 
here and shipped many loads of hides and produce to the South.i* 

The west bank of Big Bend, or Fisherman's Bend, of Murphy's Lake 
has for almost a century been a favorite camping-place for fishing parties. 

Near Pond River and the McLean County Line 

One of these is well remembered locally because it terminated in the drown- 
ing of J. Lindsey Spurlin and Ellington Eades. This tragedy occurred on 
the 5th of July, 1866. J. Lindsey Spurlin was a man of about forty-four 
years and Ellington Eades was a boy of nineteen, a son of R. W. Eades and 
a grandson of pioneer Barnett Eades. Besides the two who were drowned the 

" Bridge Lake, near the mouth of Mud River, may at one time have been a 
channel of Green River or Mud River. It is now more of a bayou or back-water 
slough than a lagoon of the character of those in the Pond River bottoms. Dur- 
ing high water Bridge Lake becomes a channel and flows into Green River below 
the mouth of Mud River. Abram, Campfield, Horseshoe, and other small lakes 
above it on the Muhlenberg side are probably old channels of Mud River. 

Black Lake, located in the extreme northern part of the county, is a long, nar- 
row lagoon, the origin and nature of which is a matter of speculation. An arm of 
Green River may have run, ages ago, from the mouth of Thoroughfare branch to 
the region of Black Lake and then continued down Cypress Creek, or down some 
other course, back into Green River. 

Near Pond Creek occur a few small, narrow ponds known as "old sloughs." 
Above the old Jack Ford, near the Greenville and Elkton Road, is one which, pre- 
vious to about 1860, formed part of the Pond Creek main channel. 


party consisted of Theodore Spurlin (son of J. Lindsey Spurlin), K, L. 
Terry, John Luckett, and Alfred Luckett. Their nets having become en- 
tangled, Ellington Eades waded into the water to straighten them out. 
While thus engaged a cramp caused him to lose all control of himself. 
J. Lindsey Spurlin jumped into the lake to help his sinking friend, but in 
his attempt both sank to the bottom. ^-^ 

About twenty years before J. Lindsey Spurlin was drowned he had par- 
ticipated in a hunt that took place in this same part of the Pond River coun- 
try. Wild turkeys and squirrels were in such abundance in the olden times 
that corn was more or less subject to destruction by these "pests" from the 
time it was planted to the day it was gathered. In 1845 the people living 
near Old Liberty 'and Murphy's Lake declared war on the wild turkeys and 
squirrels, for during that year they had become unusually troublesome. 
Thomas Murphy and Joseph C. Reynolds were selected as captains to fight 
a prolonged battle against these foes of the farmer. Each leader chose an 
equal number of men and boys for his company. It was agreed that after 
sixty days of bombardment the two captains and their hunters were to re- 
turn to a designated camp between Murphy's Lake and Old Liberty. The 
company bringing the smaller number of scalps (that is, tails) was to pre- 
pare a barbecue for the entire neighborhood. When the fight began, those 
who could procure no shotguns or rifles marched along depending on sticks 
and stones for their ammunition. For two months the old muzzle-loaders 
scattered lead in every direction, and everything small that could be picked 
up and thrown was "fired" at the corn-field enemy. Reports differ as to 
how many squirrels and turkeys were slaughtered in this great battle. One 
enthusiastic fisherman, whose grandfather was then a mere boy, declares 
that " Grandpa kept a horse and landslide busy every day and most every 
night for two months carrying tails to Murphy's headquarters, and the Lord 
only knows how many others were kept busy on the same job." Facts 
usually undergo some changes in the hands of tradition, and it has therefore 
been supposed by some that the tails referred to by this grandson were in 
reality tales, or daily reports carried to Tom Murphy's camp to keep that 
captain informed in regard to the movements of his own and his rival's 
progress. At any rate, all versions agree that "there was a terrible siglit of 
fur and feather tails" displayed at the barbecue, and that Tom Murphy and 
his crowd, having brought in the larger number of "scalps," were that day 
crowned the kings of the killing. The next year, so the story runs, and for 
many years after, every farmer in the neighborhood raised more corn than 
Carter had oats — ' ' except when the crows were bad. ' ' 

Tradition takes us further back than the ' ' Tale of the Tails, ' ' for in the 
legend of Lew Allen Hill we are carried to the days of the roving Indians. 

15 J. Lindsey Spurlin was a son of John Spurlin, an Englishman who settled in 
Christian County about 1800, where he married Rebecca N. Utley. The Reverend 
James Utley Spurlin, who died in 1909 aged eighty-two and who for more than 
fifty years preached in Muhlenberg and some of the adjoining counties, was also a 
son of John Spurlin. J. Lindsey Spurlin came to Muhlenberg about 1845. When 
he was drowned he left a widow with eight small children, all of whom have since 
become well-known citizens: Theodore, Miss Rebecca, Mrs. Mary (Jacob) Colley, 
Mrs. Elizabeth F. (Hiram W.) Lee, Mrs. Prince (Douglass) Laswell, Miss Lure, 
James T., and J. Lindsey Spurlin, jr. 



The much-talked-of Lew Allen (or Lewellyn) Hill is located in Pond River 
bottom, about two miles south of Murphy's Lake. The size of this hill is not 
at all in proportion to its fame. It is an elevation of only about twenty feet, 
and has the general form of a broad low cone with a more or less oval- 
shaped base. It is surrounded in every direction by the level bottom land 
of Pond River for a distance of half a mile or more. Its area, including its 
sloping sides, is about one acre. It is covered with beech and sugar trees of 


various sizes. On the top, near the center, is the stump of a recently cut 
black oak tree three and one half feet in diameter. 

The legend of Lew Allen Hill is an old and likewise vague tale. In fact, 
there are two versions of it. One is to the effect that shortly after the Revo- 
lution a Captain Knight and his associates settled somewhere on Pond River 
between what later became the site of the «Iesse H. Reno mill (which was 
built in the early '50s and stood near Prowse's Bridge) and Grace's Fish 
Trap Ford, farther down the river and opposite the picturesque Grace's 
Blutf. There, it is said, these pioneers built a strong block cabin and fort. 
Captain Knight was a trapper and Indian fighter and seemingly the Daniel 
Boone of the upper Pond River country. Tradition does not tell how many 
men were connected with his little station. The probabilities, however, are 
that there were only a few. Among the Captain's companions was one Lew 
Allen, or Lewellyn, who — so the story runs — while out looking after some 
bear traps w^andered from the camp to this little hill, a distance of about 



two miles. He was standing on the moundlike elevation, trying to locate a 
favorable spot for another trap, when suddenly he was attacked and killed 
by a number of Indians. Knowing that his friends would be likely to search 
the woods for him, the red men dug a hole on top of the hill, threw the 
corpse in, and then made an effort to conceal the hiding-place. The follow- 
ing morning, after a diligent hunt, Captain Knight's men discovered Lew 
Allen's body, and reburied it in its original Indian-made grave. The few 
small pieces of sand rock now scattered over this knoll are said to have 
served at one time as the murdered man's tombstone. 


According to the other version, Lew Allen and another prospector came 
to this neighborhood from what is now Hartford, in Ohio County, which 
was then one of the few settlements in Western Kentucky. These two men, 
having been caught in a heavy rain near Pond River, built a tire and put up 
a wdgwam of brush on the top of the hillock, for this purpose more suitable 
than the wet bottom land surrounding it. They removed all their drenched 
clothes except their buckskin hunting-shirts. While engaged in drying their 
wearing apparel and preparing a meal tliey found themselves, without a mo- 
ment's warning, attacked by three or four Indians. Some say the Indians 
rushed upon the two white men simply for the fun of scaring them, .^t any 
rate, a few shots were exchanged and Lew Allen was killed. His frightened 
companion, however, made his escape through the woods and found his way 
back to Hartford, where he arrived clad in nothing but his badly tattered 

The hunting-shirt of the early pioneer, it might be well to add, was a 
long buckskin garment that served the double purpose of a coat and a shirt. 
It encircled the body down to about eight inches above the knees, and could 


be worn either with the lower part hanging loose over the breeches or stuffed 
in them, as desired. In pattern it somewhat resembled the modern woolen 
military coat-shirt. 

Such are the two versions of the legend of Lew Allen Hill. Each has its 
enthusiastic upholders and its equally enthusiastic deniers. The same may 
also be said concerning the two theories regarding the origin of the hill. On 
one hand are those who have come to the conclusion that it is nothing more 
or less than a natural hill like many of the other hills, large and small, scat- 
tered over Pond River bottom ; on the other hand are those who believe that 
it is artificial, the work of the Mound Builders, evidence of whose former 
existence can still be found in the Pond River country and other parts of 
Muhlenberg. ^^ 

Mounds and other signs of the prehistoric men of the Pond River 
country are rapidly disappearing, and the same may also be said of the 
few remaining landmarks erected by its pioneers. The primeval forests 
have long since given way to new farms, and many of the long-abandoned 
fields are now being redeemed. ]\Iodern buildings are taking the places of 
old-time houses. After better roads shall have been built, Pond River 
straightened out, and the bottoms properly drained, the Pond River country 
will rank — as it did in the olden days — second to none in Muhlenberg. 

" A superficial investigation with a pick and shovel strengthened ray opinion 
that Lew Allen Hill is not the work of man. To me it looked like an accumula- 
tion deposited by some of the sediment-laden currents in the big floods that 
prevailed during some of the great overflows in prehistoric times, when the hills 
of this section were formed by the intervening valleys being washed out. If 
Lew Allen Hill showed a formation consisting of stratified rocks, such as occur 
in the hills bordering upon Pond River bottom, then we could conclude that it 
is the remains of one of the many hills that once existed here, but which were 
eroded and removed when Pond River was making its wide bottom. 

I presume the isolation of Lew Allen Hill and its shape, combined with the 
fact that a number of prehistoric mounds exist throughout this and other parts 
of the upper Pond River country, suggested the possibility of its being an artificial 
mound. The fact that a number of arrow-heads and stone axes have been found 
not only on this small elevation but also on the nearby Reynold's Turkey Hill 
and Owen's Island, is considered by some as further evidence that Lew Allen Hill 
is an artificial mound. Such relics indicate nothing more than the presence at 
some time of prehistoric men. 


SOME time ago I visited the ruins of Old Liberty, six and a half miles 
west of Greenville. It stands on a spot where the pioneers built a 
church that flourished for many ,vears. My companion and I sat 
down by the old forsaken and forgotten log house and then wan- 
dered around in the graveyard. Old Liberty, as we saw it, probably pre- 
sented to my companion a scene showing nothing more than the ravages of 
time and neglect. I saw not only the view that lay before us, but I also 
could see in my mind's eye the many changes that had taken place, year 
after year, since the days when I was a boy. 

Liberty was built by the pioneers in the early history of the county — in 
1816. A short time after Liberty was built Reverend James Johnston or- 
ganized a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation there, it being one of the 
first Cumberland Presbyterian congregations organized in the county. The 
Presbyterians held their regular meetings of worship at Liberty until 1851 , 
when they erected a new church house on the lower Hopkinsville Road and 
called it ^Mount Pisgah. Liberty Church was built as a union church house, 
free to all denominations. The ]\Iethodists used Liberty as a place of wor- 
ship until about 1880, when they abandoned it. 

Liberty Church had a noted record of religious worship and revivals. 
When this church was built, houses of worship were scarce in the western 
as well as in the other parts of Muhlenberg. No other place in the county 
was more noted for religious revivals than Liberty. During the summer 
and fall of every year protracted meetings were held, and people and 
preachers of all denominations gathered and remained for weeks. Large 
arbors were made for outdoor service. Basket meetings were frequent, and 
cooking was sometimes done on the church ground. No such revival serv- 
ices take place now-a-days. The earnest appeals of the preachers, the zeal- 
ous songs, long prayers, and loud shouts of joy that were heard and realized 
at Liberty long ago are seldom heard in the worship of to-day. I can re- 
member the old pioneers as they would shake hands with each other with 
smiles of hope and joy. 

Liberty was called "the mother of preachers." Many of the young men 
of this and adjoining neighborhoods became ministers of the Gospel under 
the influence of the revivals that took place at Liberty. Among them were 
Thomas and Mark Bone, sons of John Bone ; George and Thomas Reynolds, 
sons of Richard D. Reynolds, who was the grandfather of John T. Rey- 

1 This entire chapter is by Mr. Richard T. Martin. It is a delightful mingling of 
history and personal reminiscences, by one who knows his subject well. The 
sketch was originally printed in the Greenville Record, April 25, 1912. 



nolds, sr. ; Charles and Kincheon Hay, sons of Kinnard Hay, a school- 
teacher, and brothers of Wiley S. Hay, who represented the county in the 
Legislature in 1845 and 1846, and who later became a State Senator ; Henry 
and Felix Black, sons of Henry Black and brothers of Judge Nathan Black, 
who later became a noted lawyer in Western Kentucky ; Duran Alcock, 
Stephen Goodnight, Charles Camp- 
bell, Adlai Boyd, and Samuel Wil- 
kins, through the influence of Old 
Tiiberty, also became preachers. 
None of these men spent much time 
in Muhlenberg after they became 
preachers except Adlai Boyd and 
Samuel Wilkins. 

Liberty was sometimes used as 
a place for political gatherings and 
barbecues. It was also used as a 
schoolhouse until 1855, when a 
school was built a mile east of the 
church. W. A. Armstrong taught 
the last district school at Liberty, 
in the fall of 1855. In the early 
times the county was not divided 
into school districts, and the chil- 
dren of about fifteen families came 
from a radius of two miles to at- 
tend school at Liberty. The first school that I attended was at Liberty. It 
was then (in 1846) taught for two sessions by James F. Messic, a young 
Presbyterian preacher. He was bom in 1819 and died at Dixon, Webster 
County, in 1885. His students ranged from five to twenty in years and 
from thirty to forty in number. Ijiberty was then standing in the midst of 
a beautiful forest surrounded by clustered oaks proudly waving their long 
arms of green foliage to the summer winds and forming a delightful shade. 
A beautiful and ample playground extended all around the house. 

In my memory I can plainly see, as if it were but a few years ago, the 
children that attended the school taught by Messic coming up to Liberty 
along the different roads and paths in the early morning hours with their 
baskets, buckets, and books. They were neatly dressed in homespun apparel 
and came with merry hearts and rosy cheeks, greeting each other with a 
smile. It was an ambition among the boys and girls to be first at school and 
to get there before ''book time," which gave them a chance for play. The 
old blue-backed spelling-book was used, and it took two copies to last some 
pupils through the school. The old-time readers were also used. We all ad- 
mired the poem about the sailor boy M'hose name was Patrick Green, who 
said, "AVould you know my story? I have been across the ocean blue and 
seen it in its glory." Most of the boys and girls used thumb-papers to 
protect their books. In the early schools the children were allowed to read 
and spell out and sometimes the schoolhouse would appear like a beehive 
with a general hum of variegated voices. We tried to see which could spell 

A Sweep and Well and an 
Old Oaken Backet, near Old Liberty 



and read the loudest. W. H, Rice, who died forty years ago, was the cham- 
pion in loud spelling. 

Messic was king, and waved the scepter o'er Liberty's domain. What 
he said was law and gospel. He would read his rules every Monday morn- 
ing, commencing first, second, and so on to the tenth rule. He backed up 
his rules with two keen switches, a large and a small one, which he placed 
in a rack over the door. 


The greatest attraction at school was recess and playtime. At twelve 
o 'clock Messic would say, ' ' Put by books for dinner. ' ' Then a general hus- 
tling commenced and continued until "books" was again called. After din- 
ner was over, play commenced. The games were "Bull-pen," "Prisoner's 
Base," "Catball," "Andy Over," and marbles. The recess would last an 
hour. James F. Shelton, now in his seventy-seventh year, was the "fox" 
of the school. A number of boys would act as ' ' hounds, ' ' and many a time 
they chased Shelton around through the woods, but never caught him. 

Messic had a sweetheart, who lived about a half mile from Liberty, and 
sometimes after dinner he would make a call, and then our playtime would 
be extended. We were all glad to see JMessic step ofT down the road, for we 
felt that we could do as we pleased during his absence. 

How well I remember the old well that stood west of the house and near 
the road ! It was nicely curbed up with stone. We used a pole and a sweep to 
draw water from its depths. There we often stood to drink of the fresh 



water from "the old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, the moss-covered 
bucket that hung in the well. ' ' But now neither vestige nor sign of this old 
well can be seen. 

On one occasion a man named Loving came to the Messic school. I re- 
member him as well as if it had been yesterday. He was a middle-aged man 
with light hair and blue eyes ; his face was considerably marked with small- 
pox. Messic called the school to order and Loving took out his watch and 


commenced his examination with the smallest pupil. He asked this small 
boy, "If you had this watch and should break it, to whom would you take it 
to get it fixed?" This he asked of some others. Most of them said that they 
did not know. Some answered that they would take it to the blacksmith ; 
others said to the gunsmith or to the carpenter. Finally Loving came to a 
boy who had been listening and watching very earnestly. He asked the boy, 
"Son, if you had this watch and should break it, where would you take it to 
get it fixed?" The boy looked wise and smacked his mouth and said, "Well, 
sir, I would take it to God." "Oh, no," replied Loving, "you could not do 
that." This lad was the well-known C. Y. Shelton, who in 1864 moved to 
Arizona and who died at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1887, and was buried 
at Old Liberty. 

On another occasion during Messic 's school, John Campbell, a mathe- 
matical genius of the country, came to Liberty, as we supposed, to test Mes- 
sic 's mathematical ability. Campbell stated several problems and asked 


Messic to solve them. One of them was : ' ' How large is that piece of land or 
section of country which, if fenced, the number of acres enclosed would be 
equal to the number of rails around it, the rails being ten feet long and laid 
ten rails high, and so placed that every two lengths of rails formed a pole of 
the boundary ? ' ' Messic said he did not think the problem could be solved. 
Campbell then figured it out and showed in what size tract it was that, un- 
der the specified conditions, the number of acres and the number of rails 
was just the same. Messic and all of us then saw that it could be done, and 
I, for one, have not forgotten it. 

A novel event during jNIessic 's time was the geography singing-school. A 
man named Burr came into the Liberty neighborhood and made up 
a class of about twenty scholars. It was a singing-school of geographical 
names. Burr had these names so classified and arranged that by giving 
them the proper accent and singing them to some familiar tune they would 
make interesting music as well as impress geographical names on the mem- 
ory. Burr had a large chart which he used, and the pupils all had maps. 
In those days maps and geographies were printed in separate books. Dur- 
ing the process of singing some of the mischievous girls, in calling out tlie 
names of some of the lakes, would substitute the name of Messic. For in- 
stance, instead of Lake Michigan they would sing "Lake Mr. Messic." This 
singing-school was taught Saturdays and Sundays. ]\Iessic was not a mem- 
ber of the singing class, but would attend as a spectator. 

The young men of the neighborhood occasionally met to discuss different 
questions. However, Liberty was more frequently used as a meeting-place 
for singing classes. Such singing classes met during the summer season 
and sang according to the old four-note system called the fa, sol, la, me. 
These classes were kept up for many years. The songs were called "Mont- 
gomery," "Mt. Zion," "Edom," "Ocean," "Huntington," "Delight," 
and "Easter Anthem," and they were fine music. James W. Rice was the 
leader for many years. The books used were called the "Missouri" and 
"Southern Harmony." Sometimes the singers would bring their dinners 
and spend the day at Liberty. Uncle John Allison (who would rather sing 
bass than eat) was one of our best singers. Allison, Morton, and Buchan- 
non gave us music equal to a brass liand. 

Llany of the boys and girls with whom I went to school at Liberty have 
passed away. Some of them are scattered in other States ; only a few are 
now living in the county, and they have reached their threescore years and 
ten. Soon after Liberty Avas built a graveyard was started near the church. 
This burying-ground has slowly increased, and now a number of the people 
of the neighborhood, including some of those who attended Liberty school 
and church during, before, or after my youth sleep within its confines. 

My companion and I walked around in this graveyard and read the in- 
scriptions on the tombstones. As we passed along I pointed out the un- 
marked grave of the Reverend Adlai Boyd, once a noted pioneer Cumber- 
land Presbyterian preacher. He was born in the first years of the Nine- 
teenth Century and spent fifty-odd years of his life in earnest devotion to 
the cause of the Christian religion. Boyd was an eloquent and impressive 
speaker and one of the ablest preachers that ever lived in the county. He 



was pastor of Liberty Church for some years. Many a time his clear and 
distinct voice rang out within and about Liberty Church, interesting and 
instructing many of those that are now slumbering with him in the dust of 
death. He lived northeast of Greenville, and was a man of some means. He 
owned a good farm of five hundred acres of land, underlaid with coal, which 
is now included in the Hillside coal holdings. He owned a house and lot in 
Grreenville. His first wife was Joanna Cesna. They raised a good-sized 


family, consisting of four boys and three girls. His first wife died about 
1864 and was buried in Liberty graveyard. Some years afterward Mr. 
Boyd married again and removed to Henderson. In the spring of 1882 he 
came to Greenville on a visit, took sick and died, and was buried at Liberty 
by the side of his first wife. He devoted his life to the betterment of his 
race, in persuading men and women to become allied to the Christian 

In 1902, Avhen the Cumberland Presbj'ierians of Greenville tore down 
the old building that had been erected in 1848, they placed in their new 
building four memorial windows, one of which is ' ' Sacred to the Memory of 
Adlai Boyd, First Pastor. Matthew 28:19." Few M^ho now read his name 
in that window know that he was one of the most influential preachers of 
his day and that he is buried at Old Liberty.- 

2 The four memorial windows in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Green- 
ville are in memory of — Adlai Boyd, first pastor; Mrs. Anna Allison Holmes, first or- 
ganist; J. C. Howard, for twenty-one years superintendent of the Sabbath-school, 
and A. J. Martin, ruling elder. 


WHEN the first settlers came to look for homes in that portion of 
the State which is now IMuhlenberg County they found the hills 
and valleys covered with one continuous forest. Gigantic oak, 
poplar, hickory, walnut, beech and many other species of hard- 
wood trees flourished in great numbers, especially in the bottoms and valleys 
and on the north hillsides ; tall pines stood on the cliffs overlooking Clif ty 
Creek, and large cypresses shaded the banks of Black Lake. Little or no un- 
derbrush grew in this virgin forest. Men and women experienced no trouble 
in riding or walking under the trees. Wagons encountered few obstacles 
other than deep streams or steep hills. 

The pioneers believed that the best land on which to settle was where 
good springs and running streams existed and where good timber for 
houses, fences, and fuel was plentiful. Wood and water they found here to 
their satisfaction, and in a territory they judged sufficiently large to provide 
them and their successors with "new ground" for many centuries. The 
supply of standing timber then seemed as inexhaustible as the water in the 
everlasting springs and ever-running streams. They did not imagine that 
the conservation of forests and the redeeming of the so-called "worn-out 
land" would, in less than a century, be among the problems of the day. 
Nor did they realize that they were treading on ground under which lay 
great deposits of coal, and that this coal would some day be developed and 
rank as the county's greatest natural resource. 

The Indians had, for more than a century, given up this section of the 
State as a place of residence, but had not abandoned it as a hunting-ground 
until a short time before the first white men began making their settlements. 
The few red men who were seen by Muhlenberg's pioneers were in all prob- 
ability rovers, belonging to no tribe at all. In the olden days deer, bear, 
turkeys, and other game were plentiful ; wolves were numerous, and pan- 
thers, although comparatively few, were likely to be encountered at any 

Such, in brief, was the wilderness into which the first-comers penetrated 
to open up a new country and to establish homes and fortunes for them- 
selves and for their children. In this vast forest the pioneers made their 
clearings, erected their houses, raised their crops, cut their roads, built their 
churches, put up their courthouse, reared their families, and blazed the way 
for posterity. 

The providing of food and shelter occupied the greater part of the time 
of the first-comers. Self-reliance became of necessity a strong characteristic. 



Every family was thrown absolutely on its own resources, except in cases 
where two or more families came in a body and settled in the same place for 
mutual protection and assistance. Help of any and every kind was cheer- 
fully given to neighbors ; but neighbors were as a rule few, and in most 
cases the nearest lived several miles away. The men cultivated the crops, 
shot game for meat, and attended to what marketing there was of their 
scanty products. In the meantime the women not only performed the reg- 
ular household duties, but also spun the yarn and flax and wove the cloth 
for most of the clothes then worn. 


Trees like these two (oak six feet, poplar four feet in diameter) were numerous in the olden 
days. They are among the few giants still standing in the Upper Pond Creek country 

As the number of newcomers increased, the exchange of labor and prod- 
ucts became more frequent and more practical, and pleasure as well as profit 
brought about a more frequent commingling of the people. Business and 
social, religious, and educational intercourse not only led to an exchange of 
views but also to the broadening of ideas. Nearly every farm became not 
only a place for work but also a social center. Those who lacked an interest 
in social, religious, or educational affairs and avoided these gatherings soon 
deteriorated, no matter how great their accomplishments or how high their 
social standing might have been. 

Neighbors intermarried, and as every neighborhood was in social touch 
with those surrounding it, all neighborhoods, in time, were linked together. 
The German-Americans in the northern and eastern part of the county, the 
Virginians in the middle section, extending from Green River to Pond 
River, and the Carolinians in the southern part, soon became more or less 
united into one settlement, with Greenville as its center. More than half of 
the citizens now living in Muhlenberg, who trace their ancestry to the pio- 
neers of the county, are related, although in many cases this kinship has 


been lost sight of or is expressed in the vague term, "some sort of a cousin 
from way back." 

The early settlers in the county were of various extraction. ]\Iost of 
them were German, English, Scotch, or Irish descent. But since environ- 
ment plays a more important part in the development of a people than the 
nationality of their ancestors, and since in the early days all were under the 
influence of the same surroundings, conditions, and laws, the pioneers soon 
drifted more or less into the same way of living and into the use of the same 
language and the same local forms of expression. A few of the pioneers 
were Germans, and a number were German-Pennsylvanians and German- 
Virginians; but all traces of the old Vaterland customs and speech disap- 
peared from IMuhlenberg three or four generations ago. This change ex- 
tended even to the spelling of the German names, most of them having been 
long since Americanized. 

The Virginians and Carolinians of English, Scotch, and Irish extraction 
were more numerous than any other class of settlers, and their life, lan- 
guage, and laws prevailed to such an extent that their characteristics soon 
influenced the manners and customs of the entire population of the county. 
As time rolled on and new conditions presented themselves new customs 
slowly developed, and as the customs of colonial Virginia and the Carolinas 
that had long prevailed in Muhlenberg passed into the days gone by, there 
gradually developed another American people — ]Muhlenbergers — who were 
not only among the earliest of typical Kentuckians, but whose descend- 
ants, changing with the times, are typical Kentuckians of to-day. 

A large portion of Virginia's military grants lay in Kentucky south of 
Green River. A number of the first-comers and other pioneers, conse- 
quently, were people who came to take possession of the military lands 
granted to them or to their fathers. Others traveled into this wilderness to 
buy offered tracts or to claim tracts they had bought. Some wandered here 
to settle on unclaimed public lands, or to "squat" on wild lands with a view 
of later obtaining a patent for their newly acquired farms. Some, stirred 
by the "call of the wild, " came to hunt and fish. Others, drifting on the 
tide of adventure, indifferent about land or game, had — as a local expres- 
sion puts it — "come to be a-coming. " 

Many who had land warrants located them, irrespective of any other 
claim, on any ground that seemed desirable, for the country had not been 
surveyed and "sectioned" by the government. As early as 1775 Richard 
Henderson proposed that the lines run on the territory claimed by the 
Transylvania Company be made "by the four cardinal points, except where 
rivers or mountains so intervene as to render it too inconvenient." The 
neglect of Virginia to provide for the general survey of Kentucky, and the 
failure of the pioneers to adopt Henderson's idea, resulted in complications 
all over the State, many of which are still unsettled. 

Many of the settlers employed professional surveyors, but more often 
had the tracts they intended to occupy laid out according to their own 
notions, independent of their neighbors' lines. However, most of the pio- 
neers did their own surveying. Some, it is said, "ran their lines with grape- 
vines, using a portable knot-hole for a transit, the sun for a compass, and a 


dogwood saplin' for a flag-pole." In modern parlance, it was "the Eye-See 
Way." They, like the professional surveyors, also established courses by 
planting stones and pegs or by marking ' ' a hickory on a hill, " " a beech 
near a branch," or by blazing any convenient trees along a line or near a 
corner, or by following the meanderings of a stream. The old maps repre- 
sent most of the military lines (lines bounding military grants) "as straight 
as an arrow," but many of such old lines are in reality, as one man ex- 
pressed it, "as crooked as a dog's hind leg." The fact that many of these 
old calls can not be traced as originally run out has given rise to the report 
that the description of a certain line in the county reads, "from a ben' in a 
creek, thence a kinder south-like forty poles, more or less, to a nigger in a 

Mr. R. T. Martin, speaking of the pioneers, said : 

"The first settlers of Muhlenberg County were people of nerve, enter- 
prise, and industry. They braved the hardships and obstacles of a wild and 
unbroken forest. Tbey came, stayed, and conquered, and laid the founda- 
tion for future greatness. We have many advantages over our forefathers ; 
they had only about two over us. They had a wonderful range for stock. 
Pea-vines were knee-high all over the county, fast canebrakes stood in many 
places, and there was always an abundance of mast. On all these the horses, 
cattle, and hogs fared exceedingly well. The other advantage was in the 
abundance of game, which supplied them with much of their meat and 

"Most of the pioneers had apple and peach orchards. Many of the apple 
trees planted by them produced fruit for thirty years, and some as long as 
fifty years. Dried apples and dried peaches were a commodity with the old 
settlers. Their cider and vinegar have never been equaled. Their whisky, 
apple jack, and peach brandy, made at the various still-houses in the 
county, were according to all reports very fine. 

* ' Their method of preparing meals was very different from that of to- 
day. Cooking was done in pots, skillets, and ovens around a large open 
wood fireplace. They beat and chopped their meat into sausage with cleaver 
and hammer made in the blacksmith shop. 

"One of their great burdens was in their disadvantage as to transporta- 
tion facilities. Most of the traveling was done afoot, on horseback, or in a 
public stage-coach. There were no two-horse wagons in those days. Ox- 
carts and ground-sleds were used for farm purposes. In nearly every neigh- 
borhood there were one or two six-horse wagons run by regular wagoners, 
who in the earliest times hauled much of the produce to shipping points 
on the Ohio River, but about the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, when 
Kincheloe's Bluff was made a landing-place, all produce for the outside 
world was sent there, and later, after South Carrollton was settled, all the 
hauling was to and from that point." 

In the early days, and even until comparatively recent times, some of the 
farmers used a ground-sled or a "landslide" for short hauls. It was built 
on the principle of a sled, and so used during all seasons. The so-called 
"truck wagon" was also frequently seen in the olden days. Its wheels were 
discs sawed from a solid black gum log, and were about two and a half feet 




high. It was usually drawn by a yoke of oxen. The owner lubricated the 
axles with homemade soap before starting from his farm, but after driving 
two or three miles and allowing the wagon to stand in the sun for a few 
hours the lubricant w^ould waste away. On his return home the screeching 
of the old wagon could be heard for more than half a mile. 

Many of the pioneer families not only "killed" or raised their own 
leather but also made their own shoes and harness. They went to the tan- 

yards to have the hides 
tanned. The process of tan- 
ning required almost a year, 
and although the tanner of- 
ten had hundreds of hides in 
his tan-pits at one time, he 
could "tell any man's hide" 
in his tanyard. No matter 
how much the "unhairing" 
and other processes may 
have changed the original 
skin, he would return to 
each customer the identical 
hide that had been brought months before. In payment for his work the 
tanner usually received one third of the leather. 

Practically all the pioneers wore clothes that were made from homespun 
cloth. Flax was more or less extensively cultivated in the county until 
about 1850, but since 1870 this crop has not been raised. Flaxseed was us- 
ually sown on Good Friday. The plant cultivated in Muhlenberg was from 
two to three feet high, branching only near the top, and stood about as thick 
as wheat stalks. The harvesting began by pulling the plant out by the roots. 
It went through a number of processes before the fibre was finally separated 
from the ' ' bone. ' ' The women, after spinning this fibre into thread, wove 
it into linen. Their linsey or linsey-woolsey was a homespun cloth made of 
home-grown linen and home-grown wool. 

A few of the pioneers, some of their children, and even some of their 
grandchildren, experimented with the raising of cotton in Muhlenberg. 
The local cotton crop was usually a very small one, although it is said that 
on one or two occasions it was greater than the local demand. ^ 
Speaking to me of the old days, Judge David J. Fleming said : 
' ' I have often heard my father, Samuel C. Fleming, tell of an incident 
that took place about the year 1815, or shortly after my grandparents set- 

^ Up to 1900 Mrs. Cynthia B. (.1. K.) Gary raised all the cotton she used in her 
quilts, and ginned it with a device that resembled and worked on the principle of 
a clothes-wringer. In 1847 John Staples built a small public cotton gin near Friend- 
ship. A few years later he sold it to Thos. Terry, who moved it three miles west of 
Greenville; although a number of people tried to raise cotton during the Civil 
War, not enough was produced to justify the running of the gin. In 1870 W. H. 
James moved the gin to near Pleasant Hill Church (Russell Old Field), and after 
three years' trial sold it to E. V. Tate, who transferred the rollers, sweep, and 
other parts back to the Friendship neighborhood, where they were used for vari- 
ous purposes. 



tied in the Mud River country. Ammunition was scarce in those days, but 
game was plentiful and easily caught. My grandfather, David L. Fleming, 
had cleared a small field, in which he built a turkey-pen for the purpose of 
trapping wild turkeys. One day at dinner my grandfather told my father, 
then a boy of about ten, to go over to the turkey-pen after dinner and see 
whether any turkeys were in it. Shortly before supper father walked 
over to the pen, but found no turkeys nor any signs. On his return he fol- 
lowed a path through a strip of dense woods. Soon after entering the woods 
he heard a noise like a crying child. He glanced around, and seeing nothing 
rushed home and told his fatlier, who was then in the blacksmith's shop at 




work. The old gentleman remarked that he had often heard a 'child' crying 
in the woods at night, but never before so early in the evening. Grand- 
father picked up his gun and followed the path leading to the turkey-pen. 
He entered the woods, looked and listened, and after hearing the expected 
cry hid himself behind a tree and from there mimicked the slowly approach- 
ing beast. When it came within safe shooting distance he blazed away and 
killed one of the largest 'Tom' panthers ever seen in Muhlenberg County. 
The animal measured eleven feet from the end of his nose to the tip of his 
tail. Although I was not born until about eighteen years later, I remember 
using this old panther skin for a pallet." 

No panthers have been seen in i\Iuhlenberg since about the close of the 
Civil War, notwithstanding that even to this day reports are occasionally 
circulated that one had been seen, or rather heard, in the Clifty Creek coun- 
trj'. Wolves, too, have long ago disappeared. The desire to exterminate 
wolves, and incidentally to receive the bounty paid for their scalps, resulted 
in a war on wolves that lasted as long as there were any to be killed. Any 
one producing the head of a wolf before a justice of the peace, stating under 
oath when and where he killed the animal, was granted a certificate to that 
effect. These certificates, upon presentation to the sheriff, were paid for at 



the rate of two dollars and a half for wolves over six months of age and one 
dollar for those under that age. A reduced facsimile of one of these certifi- 
cates is here reproduced.- 

Great flocks of wild pigeons or passenger pigeons frequented Muhlen- 
berg in the olden days. Up to about 1850 they were, on occasions, seen in 

great numbers passing over the 
country while moving from place 
to place or at some of the 
pigeon-roosts in various parts 
of the county. Since about 
1860 none have been seen at all. 
That ' ' they came by the millions 
and were killed with clubs by the 
thousands," and that while fly- 
ing over the country "they hid 
the sun even more than the 
blackest cloud" and "turned 
day into night" is A'erified by 
many local traditions. Amos M. 
Jenkins, now eighty years of 
age, declares that wild pigeon 
meat was better than the best 
quail. One tradition is to the 
effect that in the olden times 
some of the farmers near Para- 
PAssENGEE OR WILD PIGEONS ^isc fattened their hogs on them. 

1. Male. 2. Female. A few placcs in the Pond River 

(From a drawing by Audubon) COUUtry and aloUg GrCCU Rivcr 

are still pointed out as old pigeon-roosts. However, all evidences of the 
presence of pigeons have long ago disappeared. ^ 

2 In a bundle of old documents marked "Medley of papers" in the courthouse I 
found many "wolf-sculp" certiiicates. Four, selected at random, read: 

"March 4th, 1800. This day came Jacob Wiley before me, one of the Justices of 
the Peace of Muhlenberg County and brought a wolf's head which appears over 
the age two years and took the oath prescribed by law. Given under my hand. 
Isaac Davis." 

"I hereby do Certify that Sharp Garness Brought before me a Justice of thee 
peace for Muhlenberg County four Groan Wolf Sculps and proved them as the Law 
directs. Given under My hand thee 27 day of August 1800. W. Bradford, J. P." 

"October the 7th 1805. Jacob Groves produced one grown woolfe skulp to me 
and proved it as the law directs. Charles Lewis, J. P." 

"Muhlenberge Countey. This day about 2 o'clock I killed a large wolf and Jacob 
Short witness. November 23, 1805. Joseph Arnold, Sener." 

3 Audubon, in his work on "Birds of America," publishes a sketch on The 
Passenger Pigeon (Vol. V, pp. 25-36). In this he relates that on one occasion in 
the autumn of 1813 he saw "immense legions" of wild pigeons passing over the 
country near the mouth of Salt River, and that they continued "passing in un- 
diminished numbers . . . for three days in succession." "The air was literally 
filled with pigeons; the light of noonday was obscured as by an eclipse." 

In this same sketch he says that he repeatedly visited one of the roosting- 
places "on the banks of Green River in Kentucky." This particular roosting place 
was probably near the mouth of Green River, for there "two farmers from the 


Probably the first store opened in the county was the one started by pio- 
neers James Weir and James Craig in Greenville in 1799. After a time 
they dissolved partnership and James Weir and Oliver C. Yanlandingham 
conducted the store. In the course of a few years they dissolved partner- 
ship. Weir continued the business in Greenville, and Vanlandingham re- 
turned to his large farm near Paradise. Much of the merchandise brought 
from the East by old James Weir was exchanged for wild pork, rawhides, 
Droduce. and tobacco. These he shipped to New Orleans on flatboats, 
where he sold them for cash, with wli'ch lie bought more goods in Phila- 

Harry Weir has in his possession an old ledger kept from 1813 to 1815 
by James Weir, his great-grandfather, whose store at that time had already 
been moved from the log house on the west side of Main Street to the brick 
building on the opposite side and a little farther north, on what is now and 
has been for a century known as the Weir corner. South of the brick store 
and facing Main Street he erected, about the year 1816, a brick residence. 
Both houses are still standing, and are among the county's most interesting 

This ledger of long ago gives us some facts and figures pertaining to the 
olden times. It is a book about sixteen inches long, six inches wide, and 
more than two inches thick. Although its leather covers and its five hun- 
dred pages show their age, both are remarkably well preserved. The pen- 
manship is good, and evidently by one Jacob Zimmerman. It contains the 
accounts of three hundred and twenty people, all of whom probably lived in 
Muhlenberg at the time the transactions took place. The first entry is dated 
August 5, 1813, and the last was made in August, 1815. All prices and 

vicinity of Russellville, distant more than a liundred miles, liad driven upwards 
of three hundred hogs to be fattened on tlie pigeons, which were to be 
slaughtered . . . The pigeons, arriving by the thousands [shortly after sunset], 
alighted everywhere, one above another until solid masses were formed on the 
branches all around. Here and there the perches gave way under the weight 
with a crash, and, falling on the ground, destroyed hundreds of the birds beneath, 
forcing down the dense groups with which every stick was loaded. . . . 
Thousands were knocked down by the polemen. . . . The pigeons were con- 
stantly coming, and it was past midnight before I perceived a decrease in the 
number of those that arrived. . . . No one dared venture within the line of 
devastation. The hogs had been pent up in due time. . . . The dead, the 
dying, and the mangled . . . pigeons were picked up and piled in heaps [the 
next morning] until each had as many as he could possibly dispose of, when the 
hogs were let loose to feed on the remainder." 

In his minute description of the adult male, Audubon says: "Length 16 14 
inches, extent of wings 25 inches. . . . Bill black. Iris bright red. Feet 
carmine purple, claws blackish. Head above and on the sides light blue. Throat, 
fore-neck, breast, and sides, light brownish red, the rest of the under parts white. 
Lower part of the neck behind and along the sides, changing to gold, emerald- 
green, and rich crimson. The general color of the upper parts is grayish-blue, 
some of the wing-coverts marked with a black spot. Quills and larger wing-coverts 
blackish, the primary quills bluish on the outer web, the larger coverts whitish at 
the tip. The two middle feathers of the tail black, the rest pale blue at the base, 
becoming white towards the end." 

The adult female: "Length 15 inches; extent of wings 23 inches. . . . The 
colors of the female are much duller than those of the male, although their dis- 
tribution is the same. The breast is light greyish-brown, the upper parts pale 
reddish-brown, tinged with blue." 



totals are in English pounds, shillings, and pence, except the few connected 
with Eastern houses, the post-office, and one pertaining to the sale of a slave, 
which are in dollars and cents. English money as a medium of valuation 
passed out of use in Muhlenberg shortly after 1815, and the dollar, which 
had been more or less extensively adopted as a standard since the days of 
the first settlers, became the sole standard in all financial transactions. The 
slave referred to was "one negro woman, Leah," bought on December 5, 


1814, for $350, by Jesse Murphy, who paid about half in cash and the bal- 
ance in "pork and lard." To-day the value of a pound sterling is a little 
less than five dollars, a shilling twenty-five cents, and an English penny two 
cents. However, the calculations in this ledger indicate that at the time of 
these accounts the value of a pound was about three dollars, which made 
the shilling fifteen cents and the penny a little more than one cent. The 
entries here given are copied verbatim and show the prices charged for 
goods. The first column represents the number of pounds, the second shil- 
lings, and the third pence. The items are taken at random and are confined 
to single purchases, for when more than one article was bought the entry 
was transferred from the day book and the total recorded in the ledger as 
either "merchentdise" or "sundries." Among the hundreds of single 
items are the following : 



Pounds Shillings 





lbs. sugar 

lb. coffee 

lb. Imperial tea 

peck salt 

bii. corn 

qt. wine 

gal. whisky 

qt. rum 

lb. alum 

dose calomel 

bx. Antibillious Pills 

bx. Itch Ointment 

lbs. logwood 

fine shawl 

yds. calico 

yds. muslin 

wool hat 

fine hat 

fine hat to S. W. 

yds. country linen 

yd. crape 

yds. flannel 

paper pins 

fine pair socks 


pr. cotton cards 

pr. wool cards 


carving knife 

pen knife 

mill saw 

cythe blade 


door lock 

lb. nails 

bridle bit 

pr. saddle bags 

fine woman's saddle 

fine man saddle 

pr. shoes 

pr. boots 


pr. specks 

gun lock 

dozen flints 


spelling book 

hymn book 

Esop's Fables 

vols. British Poets 


quire paper 































































Tobacco was the principal crop raised for the market, and was in many 
eases the source of most of the farmer's "cash." According to the Weir 
ledger the price paid for tobacco in 1813 and 1814 varied from twelve to fif- 
teen shillings per hundred pounds. The account kept with George Davis 
shows that he bought merchandise and also received cash at various times, 
for all of which he received credit as follows : 

"August 27, 1813. By 3687 lbs. tobacco at 12 s. £22 2 s. 6 d. 
March 19, 1814. " 1949 " " " " £11 19 s. 10 d." 

Benjamin Coffman is credited with "Four hogs, tobacco weighing 4954 
at 15s.=£37, 5 s. 11/2^." 

Samuel Dukes is credited with "3734 lbs. tobacco at 12 s.=£22, 8 s. 
17 d." 

Four others sold their tobacco to Weir — Thomas Hesper, Edmond Hop- 
kins, Benjamin Johnson, and Christian Peters. 

Comparatively few men settled their bills by paying the actual cash. A 
number of pioneers bought large quantities of goods and in many cases paid 
for them with some of their home products. From among the various credit 
items I gather the following: 

David Campbell is credited with among other things: "By 1211/2 gal- 
lons whisky, £22, 15 s. 7 d." and "By Four barrels to hold it, £1, 4 s." 

James Corder: "By a spinning wheel, £1, 4 s." 

Abraham Dennis: "By 550 lbs. pork, £4, 2 s. 6 d." 

Leroy Jackson, on December 23, 1814: "By 614 lbs. butter, 4 s. 9 d." 

John January is credited: "By one buro, £5, 8s."; "By letter box, 6 s 
9 d. " ; " By hinges, Is. 6 d. " ; " By Framing two pictures. Perry and Law 
rence, 9s."; "By Mending wagon, 12 s."; "By one dressed deer skin, 6 s.' 

Alney McLean 's account has among its credit items : ' ' By cash and pork 
£22, 2 s. 10 d."; "By Fees up to this date, £14, 5s."; "By cash, £39 
5 s. 9d." 

Presley Pritchett is frequently credited, "By 12 wool hats, £4, Is." 
' ' By working over my hat, 4 s. 6 d. " 

Thomas Pollard: "By one dose calomel. Is." 

Ezekiel Rice: "By black smith bill, £2, 18 s. 9 d." 

John E. H. Rogers: "By i/o doz. razor strops, 10 s. 6 d." 

Mathias Zimmerman : * * By one boat, £30 ' ' ; and ' ' By one 40 foot boat, 

Henry Phillips and Thomas Glenn are each credited: "By Orleans voy- 
age, £3." 

Jeremiah Langley is credited for trips to Lewisburg and Hopkinsville 
and trips from Shawneetown and Henderson. William Mc Commons evi- 
dently made a number of trips between Greenville and Shawneetown. 
David Robison made a number of trips to and from Le^visburg. 

In the olden days many of the people exchanged their products for vari- 
ous things in the store, just as butter, eggs, poultry, etc., are now exchanged 
by some farmers for articles sold by the merchants. 

Abraham Dennis exchanged "chickens" for "one oz. barks, 3 s." 

Michael Lovell exchanged "11 yards linnen" for "one fine dressed 
bonnet, £1, 3 s." 



James McCown exchanged "12 lbs. sugar" for "one wool hat, 12 s." 
George Miller exchanged "feathers" for "Ballance spoon, 4 s. 6 d. " 
Matthew Rice's account is debited: "Sundries, per his mother," and 

credited ' ' By midwife fees, 13 s. 41/2 d. " 

Charles Vincent exchanged "Five yards linnen, full," for "Sundries, 

10 s." 


1. Chimney in David Whitmer house, near Bremen, built 1832. 

2. Rough rock chimney in John Wright house, near Carter's Creek Church, built 1810. 

Erected against a rib-roofed wall. 

3. Stick and dirt chimney in Starling Duke house, near Weir, built 1865. 

4. On© of Alfred Johnson's dressed rock chimneys, in "The Stack House." Most of the 

old chimneys are of this type. 

5. Brick chimney in old James Weir house, Greenville, built 1816. 

These items give a wonderfully intimate glimpse into the everyday life 
of these people and let us see, as it were, in actuality how they lived. 

A grist mill was regarded by some of the pioneers as a greater necessity 
than a store, a courthouse, or a professional physician. Corn was the first 


crop raised by the pioneers, and has been one of the principal products ever 
since. Cornmeal was the pioneer's most essential food. Going to mill to 
have the corn ground was always looked forward to with great expectancy, 
for the mill was, in olden days and even until recent times, the best place to 
hear the latest news. Every farmer had occasion to go or send to the mill 
many times during the course of a year, for he usually took no more than a 
bushel or two of corn or wheat at a time. As a rule the bag into which the 
grain had been placed was thrown across the horse's back and used by the 
rider as a saddle. 

All the mills in the olden days were run by water-power or horse-power. 
When wheat was ground it was bolted by hand-power. Grinding was a slow 
process, and men were obliged to remain around the mill until their "turn" 
was ground. This time was usually spent in hearing and telling the news. 
Every man waited and got his cornmeal or flour from the grain he took to 
mill. Now he can get his "turn" without delay by taking some of the 
"grinding" that is carried in stock by the miller. 

Reverend G. W. Ford, writing to me about the old Staples Mill in the 
Friendship neighborhood, says: 

"My grandfather, J. B. Staples, ran a horse-power mill in which wheat 
and corn were ground. Across the road he ran his turning lathe and cotton 
gin. It would take from an hour to an hour and a half to grind a bushel of 
corn. I remember hearing him tell of a little incident that occurred at his 
mill one day. A tall, bony young man, always hungry, rode to the mill 
and being a little late quite a number of turns were ahead of him, so he had 
to wait until his time came. It was late in the afternoon when his corn was 
poiired into the hopper. While it was being ground he stood at the meal 
spout and caught the fresh meal in his hand and ate it as it came slowly 
from the burrs. Grandfather watched the young fellow for quite a while 
and then asked him, ' How long could you eat that meal ? ' and he answered, 
'Until I starved to death!' "^ 

Preparing corn for the mill was a comparatively simple affair. After it 
had been gathered and sufficiently well dried it was shucked and then taken 
to the mill, either on the cob or off. Wheat, however, in the olden days re- 
quired a more complicated process. The wheat was cut in the field with the 
old-fashioned scything cradle and then either bunched or swathed on the 
ground. This was done by one man. Another man followed, binding the 
wheat into bundles as fast as it was cut. Two good hands could cut and 
shock about seventy-five shocks a dav. These shocks stood in the field until 

^ Laborn Ford, the father of Reverend G. W. Ford, was born in North Carolina 
in 1811, settled in Muhlenberg in 1839, and died near Friendship in 1897. 

In 1840 Laborn Ford married Lucy Ann Staples, daughter of John Burton 
Staples, who was born in Virginia in 1785, came to Muhlenberg in 1835, and died 
near Friendship in 1867. The Staples Mill, near Friendship, disappeared many 
years ago, but the farm on which it stood is still known as the Old Mill Place. 

Mr. and Mrs. Laborn Ford were the parents of Mrs. Virginia Ann (David M.) 
Durham, Mrs. Arritta (J. B.) Browning, John Laborn, Samuel Henry, Reverend 
George William, James Riley, Napoleon Monroe, and Laborn ("Sonny") Ford. 

Reverend G. W. Ford was born in 1853 and married Susan Eliza Allen, daughter 
of William Booker Allen, who came to Muhlenberg in 1845, raised eighteen chil- 
dren, and died near Friendship in 1900, aged eighty-six. 



they were thoroughly dry. They were then hauled and stacked near a plot 
of level ground. When the time came to separate the wheat from the straw 
and chaff, the farmer would decide on one of two processes. 

Following one method, he built a rail pen, some three feet high and near 
to his wheat stack. He covered the top of this enclosure with other rails 
laid side by side, and then placed some of the wheat from the stack on this 
platform of rails, laying the heads close together and all in one way or di- 
rection. Then he proceeded to flail out the grain on the pen with a hickory 
pole about eight feet long and the thickness of an average man's wrist. The 
farmer had previously prepared this pole by beating a wide band around it 
about two feet from the end, which was done with an ax or hammer, to 
make the stick bend easily without breaking. With this limber-ended pole 


he flailed out his wheat by striking heavily on the bundles. This knocked 
out the grain, which then fell to the ground through the cracks between the 

In following the other method the farmer took a hoe and scraped off the 
top of a level piece of ground and formed a circular space some twenty or 
twenty-five feet in diameter. He made the ground inside the circle per- 
fectly level and smooth and tamped it down as solidly as possible. The dirt 
scraped off was banked up in the shape of a circus ring around the 
prepared yard. Then the farmer took enough of the sheaves from the stack 
to make a batch. The bundles were laid down as closely as possible, with 
the heads pointing toward the center of the ring and the butt-ends against 
the ridge. When this outer row was laid, another was made by turning 
the butts toward the center of the circle and lapping the heads just over the 
heads of the first layer. This left a space of from eight to ten feet in the 
center of the yard, which was reserved for the purpose of piling the grain. 
The farmer now brought two horses into the ring, put a boy on one, and let 
him lead the other. The horses walked around and around until they had 
"tramped" out the grain. They were then led out, the straw was raked 
away and thrown on the outside of the circular ridge, and the grain and 


chaff were piled in the center of the yard. This process was repeated until 
all the wheat had been "tramped out." 

After the farmer separated the grain by either of these two processes he 
ran it through a wheat fan. This fan was something like the one now used 
for cleaning wheat preparatory to sowing it, except that it was much larger 
and more heavily built. The wheat and chaff were thrown into the hopper 
of the machine, which was run by a crank turned by one man. This work 
was kept up until all the wheat was fanned out, sacked, and stored away. 
The grain was still mixed with more or less chaff, but this was then the only 
way they had to clean it. 

Some of the old-style mills were run for many years; others were in 
operation only a short time. Some were well known, others were not. 
Among the comparatively few that are still occasionally recalled in local 
traditions are Tom Wagoner's Mill, at Findley's Ford on Long Creek; Han- 
cock's Mill, on lower Long Creek; Thompson's or Green's Mill, near the 
mouth of Long Creek; McKinney's Mill and Reno's Mill, on upper Pond 
River; Clark's Mill, above Harpe's Hill ; Morgan's Mill, near the mouth of 
Isaac's Creek; Tiding's Mill or Needham's Mill, on Pond River near Mill- 
port; Turner's Mill, on Log Creek; Calvert's Mill, near Black Lake; More- 
head's Horse Mill, near what is now Central City; Weir's Mill, on Caney 
Creek ; Leonard Stum 's Mill, above Paradise ; Henry Stum 's Mill, in Para- 
dise, later known as Kirtley 's Mill ; the Ely Smith Mill, on Pond Creek near 
Paradise, which was established in 1796 and a few years later became the 
Elias Smith Mill, and in 1850 the Smith Brothers Mill, by which name it 
was known until 1896, when it quit running; Haden's Mill, in Paradise; 
Brewer's Mill at the mouth of Mud River; Forgy's Mill and Barr's Mill, on 
Mud River; Taggart's Mill, near Hazel Creek Church; Staples Mill, near 
Friendship; Martin's Mill, on Jarrell's Creek, and Cooksey's Mill, on Clifty 

Other water and horse mills were erected in various parts of the county, 
but all, with the exception of Cooksey's Mill, have either been abandoned or 
have been replaced by small steam saw mills, most of which are now pre- 
pared to grind corn on Saturdays. However, the greater part of the flour 
and cornmeal now consumed in the county is ground at the few steam mills, 
that run every day and confine their work to the grinding of wheat and 

In 1848 Edward R. Weir, sr., set up the first steam mill. It was a saw 
and grist mill, built on the banks of Caney Creek about a mile and a half 
north of Greenville, on what is now called the Central City Road. A num- 
ber of other steam mills were established shortly after. 

Cooksey's Mill, the only survivor of the old-time grist mills, was started 
about the year 1810 by Alexander McPherson and some of his neighbors, 
who built an overshot wheel and ran a mill on the site that has ever since 
been used for "grinding." They M^ere succeeded by Henry Myers, who con- 
verted the wheel into an undershot. Shortly after the Civil War the orig- 
inal building was torn down and a new house erected with a turbine water- 
wheel. Cooksey's Mill still grinds at least once a week. Now, as in years 
gone by, "turns" are carried there and are paid for in "toll." Cooksey's 



Mill and other grist mills of old, like "the mills of God," though they grind 
slowly, "yet they grind exceeding small" — and exceeding well. The old- 
fashioned stone burrs still work in the old-fashioned way, grinding out the 
old-fashioned cornmeal by slowly crushing the grain, without heating and 
robbing the meal of its natural flavor. 

In the olden days, as now, Greenville was the center of the county from 
a business and social standpoint as well as from a geographical standpoint. 


From its beginning it was the county seat. The courthouse and Russell's 
Tavern, both of which were of logs, formed the nucleus of the new town of 
Greenville. The town was slow of growth. It is probable that not only the 
small population of the county but the lack of good roads limited the early 
development of the county seat. Then, as now, all roads in the county led 
directly or indirectly to Greenville, but then, more than now, the roads 
were wellnigh impassable at some seasons of the year, and it was no easy 
matter to get into or out of the county seat. Except in the Long Creek 
country and south of it there is no stone suitable for road building, and the 
problem of good wagon-roads was therefore a serious one for the pioneers, 
and is still for the citizens of to-day. The streets of Greenville were un- 
paved mud roads. 

In 1800, according to the census report, Greenville's population was 26; 
in 1810 it was 75, and in 1830 it had grown to 217. In 1830 there were 
probably fewer than forty residences, business houses, and mechanic's shops 
in the town. The location of some of these was, according to tradition, as 
follows : 


The John January house was near the southwest corner of Main and 
Hopkinsville streets. The homes of Ezias Ear] and John Walker were on 
the south side of Hopkinsville Street. Edward Ruiusey then lived on the 
west side of Main Street near Hopkinsville Street. James Weir's store and 
his residence stood where they are still standing, on Main Street south of 
the courthouse. On the west side of Main Street, opposite Weir's store, 
stood his tobacco and storage house. On the northwest corner of the public 
square, not far from the log courthouse, stood the "old brick bank" 

Among the houses on IMain Street opposite the courthouse, facing its 
main entrance, were Russell's Tavern and a few stores. Isaac Bard lived 
on the northwest corner of ]\Iain and Main Cross streets. Doctor Robert D. 
McLean's office was on Main Street a little north of Bard's. Opposite Doc- 
tor McLean lived Doctor Thomas Pollard. North of Pollard's house was a 
wool-carding factory. On IMain Cross Street, near where the Y. M. C. A. 
now stands, lived Alney McLean. A short distance north of McLean's 
house, near a good spring, was a tanyard. The Charles Fox Wing home was 
on the southeast corner of Main Cross and Cherry streets. Across the street 
and west of Captain Wing's home was the home of his brother, John Wing. 
On the east side of Cherry Street, a few hundred feet north of j\Iain Cross 
Street, stood the Greenville Seminary, and near it a small graveyard. 
About two hundred yards east of Weir's store stood the Presbyterian 
Church. E. M. Brank lived about a half mile from town on the west side of 
the Rumsey road, and about a half mile farther down this road was Weir's 
Mill on Caney Creek. 

Although the county's leading lawyers, physicians, and merchants lived 
in Greenville and were extensively identified with the growth of the county 
seat and the development of the county, they were by no means the only 
prominent men in Muhlenberg in the olden days. In the Pond River coun- 
try, the "Dutch Settlement," the Green River and the Long Creek coun- 
tries, as well as in and around Greenville, there lived many men who were 
in their day among the county's most intelligent and influential citizens. 

Samuel Russell was Greenville's first postmaster. He was appointed 
April 1, 1801, and served until October 1, 1809, when he was succeeded by 
Parmenas Redman. Later eTames Weir became postmaster at Greenville. 
It was at Weir's store that for many years the pioneers received and sent 
their mail. Weir's store was for more than half a century the principal 
headquarters for Muhlenberg men and women who had things to buy, sell, 
or exchange. Among their many customers were old Revolutionary soldiers 
and men who had fought in the War of 1812. 

Such business as must be transacted in the courthouse made it necessary 
for many people living in and out of the county to frequent the log "Tem- 
ple of Justice. ' ' Of those who were compelled to remain in town many were 
the guests of friends ; others stopped at the Russell Tavern. All, no matter 
whose guests they might be while in town, congregated during a few hours 
each day at the Russell Tavern or "The Hog Eye" tippling house. There 
they not only heard the news from other sections of the county and the out- 
side Avorld, but also had many opportunities to quench their thirst. 


Practically every man and woman living "out in the county" had occa- 
sion, or at least a desire, "to go to town" one or more times during the year. 
Some went for business, some for pleasure, some for "business and pleasure 
combined." Many arranged to make their trips to town on county court 
days. In the olden times county court days were "big days" in Greenville, 
and are such even to this day. Then as now, of the number of people who 
went to Greenville on county court day only a few had court business to at- 
tend to. Some went to trade, some to meet friends and discuss business or 
social matters with them, some to "swap" horses, and some "to see what 
was going on. ' ' 

Other meetings, besides those that took place in Greenville, around the 
mills and in the stores, offered the pioneers an opportunity to intermingle. 
Public speakings, militia musters, picnics on the Fourth of July, and, after 
the battle of New Orleans (January 8, 1815), the celebrations on the eighth 
of January, brought together many people from all parts of the county. 
House-raisings, log-rollings, hog-killings, quiltings, wedding celebrations, 
harvesting, hunting, fishing, shooting-matches, frolics, dances, fiddlers' 
contests, and racing, also, served as a blender of the early settlers. How- 
ever, churches and baptizings, camp-meetings and buryings, brought them 
in closer and more intimate touch with each other than any other form of 

Many of the first-comers were more interested in religion than in any 
other one subject. Their fathers and many of the pioneers themselves were 
Revolutionary soldiers, and had fought for political and religious liberty. 
Liberty stood foremost among their thoughts and deeds. Thus the church 
established by the pioneers near Murphy's Lake was called by them New 
Liberty — now known as Old Liberty. They were willing to continue to de- 
vote their time and fortunes, and even to sacrifice life itself, for the liberty 
that had been won not many years before. A spirit of altruism prevailed in 
those days. The patriotic pioneer did not dream of the probability of an 
age of dollars — an age characterized by its selfish men who with little 
thought of honor or justice accumulate or try to accumulate a fortune, and 
look on the making of money as the only victory in life. When in 1812, and 
again fifty years later, volunteers were called for, men responded with a 
patriotic spirit and unselfish motive. 

To the pioneer the Bible was as symbolic of political and religious lib- 
erty as was the Flag.^ Those who could read were sure to read the Bible 
often. In the beginning, when as a rule farms were far apart and church 

5 Mrs. James Duvall, of Greenville, a great-granddaughter of pioneer Samuel 
Allison, has in her possession a Bible published in 1815 by M. Carey, Philadelphia. 
It is a large, well-printed volume, bound in calf. It was published by subscription, 
and in it are given the names of the subscribers (about six hundred and fifty) 
then living in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and other sections of the West. The fact 
that these men subscribed for a Bible of this character indicates that they were 
men who appreciated good books and could afford to buy expensive volumes. 
Eighteen Muhlenberg men appear among the names of the subscribers to this 
Bible: "Samuel Allison, John Bone, William Campbell, Hugh Carter, B. Coffman, 
W. Campbell, Abraham Dennis, Samuel Drake, John January, I. Langlis, Job Mat- 
thews, Solomon Rhodes, D. H. Stephens, Thomas Salisbury, James Wier, Charles 
F. Wing, Lewis Webb, J. Zimmerman." 


houses, in most locations, were impracticable, religious exercises were held 
in turn in the homes of the pioneers. These services were conducted in Eng- 
lish. In some homes there were no Bibles other than German — copies that 
had been brought by the German- American pioneers — nevertheless the serv- 
ices were conducted in English. Henry Rhoads, it is said, frequently ad- 
dressed audiences and read chapter after chapter from a German Bible, 
translating them into English with more grace and rapidity than some of 
his contemporaries who on other occasions read a Bible printed in English. 

Hazel Creek Baptist Church was organized December 3, 1798, and was 
the first church organized in the county. This is not only the first but also 
the oldest church organization in Muhlenberg. Furthermore, it is the only 
church in the county of which a history has been published. In 1898 Pro- 
fessor William J. Johnson, who then lived near Wells, printed a seventy- 
page pamphlet entitled "History of Hazel Creek Baptist Church." This 
church, like many of the other early churches, became the mother of other 
organizations. Relative to the twelve churches originating from Hazel 
Creek, Professor Johnson says: 

"In 1799, twelve members were authorized 'to continue an arm at 
George Clark's, on the west side of Pond Creek,' which doubtless led to the 
formation of Nelson Creek church, June 10, 1803. June 1, 1805, eighteen 
members were dismissed from Hazel Creek church to form Midway church, 
now Monticello. August 2, 1806, eighteen members were dismissed to form 
what is now Cave Spring, near Pond river, on the road from Greenville to 
Hopkinsville. Cypress church, ]\IcLean county, was formed from this 
church in 1808. Antioch, Todd county, was formed from this church, and 
also Whippoorwill church in the year 1819. IMay 6, 1820, the arm known as 
Hebron (now Mt. Vernon) was made a constituted body. In 1840, thirteen 
members from this church formed new Hebron church (Muhlenberg). 
Ebenezer was organized with twenty-six members from this church, Jan- 
uary 3, 1851. Macedonia was formed from this church on November 22, 
1856. New Hope church (Muhlenberg^ was formed of material mostly 
from this church, in 1858 ; but is now extinct. Sugar Grove was constituted 
with twenty-five members, mostly from this church, in January, 1873. ' ' 

It may be well to add that the Hazel Creek congregation built its first 
house in 1800, its second in 1807, and its third in 1857, all of whicli were of 
logs. Its fourth (the present) building was erected in 1906. 

Mount Olivet (three miles northeast of Central City) is probably the 
oldest Methodist church in Muhlenberg. Mount Zion (one mile east of Cen- 
tral City) is among the oldest Presbyterian organizations. Although Mount 
Zion was organized as early as about 1802, the congregation, it is said, did 
not erect its first house until about twenty years later. As a rule, the 
church houses built by the pioneers were union churches — that is, build- 
ings erected jointly by two or more denominations, who conducted their 
services independently of one another. In Greenville, up to about 1825, the 
academy building served the purposes of a school and a union church. As 
far as I have been able to ascertain, the Presl)yterians of Greenville were 
the first in that town to erect a building of their own. I tried to procure 
data relative to the early history of all the old churches in the county, but 



an investigation showed that in only a few eases had the old church records 
been preserved. 

In religion, as well as in politics and business, the pioneers of ^luhlen- 
berg were always conservative. The "Great Revival" of the first part of 
the last century, that spasmodically stirred what was then called the West, 
did not throw many of the people of Muhlenberg into "jerks" and other 
mysterious "exercises." In Kentucky its effect was felt more in the south- 
ern and central sections of the State. 


This "Great Revival" began in Logan County in 1799, under the minis- 
try of John McGee, of the Methodist church, and his brother William 
McGee, of the Presbyterian, and soon spread over the State. Tradition 
says that the local men and women who had gone to Logan and Christian 
counties to attend these great camp-meetings were the only ones affected by 
the "exercises." 

Reverend Barton W. Stone (who married Elizabeth Campbell, daughter 
of Colonel William Campbell) in his "Autobiography," published in 1844, 
says that while at Greenville in July, 1801, he heard of the wonderful 
things taking place at some of the revivals in other sections of Kentucky. 
He and his wife "hurried from Muhlenberg" immediately after they were 
married, and went to Cane Ridge, Bourbon County, to see and study the ex- 
traordinary phenomena. His description of the "bodily agitations" is the 
best that has been written. Had any of these "exercises" taken place in 
Muhlenberg he in all probability would have stated the fact in his book. 


Peter Cartwriglit in his "Autobiography," published in 1856, also gives 
an interesting account of these revivals, but refers to Muhlenberg only once. 
Commenting on the widespread effect of one of his great camp-meetings 
held some time during the year 1812, while he was riding the ' ' Christian 
circuit," so named after Christian County, he says (page 122) : "From this 
meeting a revival spread almost tlirough the entire country round, and 
great additions were made to the Methodist church. Tins circuit was large, 
embracing parts of Logan, ]\Iuhlenberg, Butler, Christian and Caldwell 
counties in Kentuck}^ and parts of JMontgomery, Dixon and Stewart coun- 
ties in Tennessee." 

It is more than probable that Peter Cartwright conducted a number of 
meetings in Muhlenberg. Tradition, however, tells of only one place where 
he did so — the Old Camp Ground, located north of Cleaton and near the 
Greenville and Seralvo Road. Tradition has it that he preached there not 
only once but often, and that all his meetings were well attended. One of 
Peter Cartwright 's personal friends and disciples in Muhlenberg was Rev- 
erend Silas Drake, one of the best-known local JMethodist preachers and cir- 
cuit riders, and of whom the following characteristic incident is related : 

Preacher Drake was opposed to the wearing of things that were more 
ornamental than useful, declaring that such apparel was indicative of pride, 
and that "ear bobs are the devil's stirrups." One day, while addressing a 
crowd at an arbor meeting, he observed a woman with large bows of ribbon 
on her bonnet. He called her by name, reproved her, and told her that such 
bows were of absolutely no use. She, without hesitating, retaliated by say- 
ing, "Neither are the buttons on your coat sleeves or on the back of your 
coat!" He immediately pulled off his coat, cut off the buttons referred to, 
and never afterward wore a coat with buttons sewed on the sleeves or back.*^ 

No matter whether affected permanently, temporarily, or not at all by 
the "Great Revival" or any other revivals, all of the early settlers exercised 
more or less influence over their contemporaries and descendants. However, 
it is an indisputable fact that many, if not most, of the good influences 
exerted by the early settlers were due directly or indirectly to the work of 
the women of the community. Written records as Avell as local traditions 
fail to give the women who lived in the olden days the credit they deserve 
for their moral and religious influence. They always showed courage on 
trying occasions. They were the doctors of the times, and in some instances 
the sole preservers of hard-earned homes or farms. 

« Reverend Silas Drake was a son of pioneer Albritton Drake, a Revolutionary 
soldier who settled in southern Muhlenberg in 1806, where he died in 1834. Al- 
britton Drake married Ruth Collins. TheJ^ as already stated, were the parents of 
Reverend Silas, Mosley Collins, Reverend Benjamin, J. Perry, Edmond, and Wil- 
liam. Reverend Silas, Mosley Collins, and Edmund Drake married daughters of 
pioneer Micajah Wells. Reverend Silas Drake was born in 1790 and married 
Patsy Wells; he preached for a half century, and in the meantime farmed in the 
Long Creek country, where he died in 18-58. J. Perry Drake married Priscilla 
Buell, who was a sister of General Don Carlos Buell's father. The parents of Gen- 
eral Buell died while he was still a child, and the rearing and educating of 
young Buell was assumed by his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. J. Perry Drake, who 
were then living in Indianapolis. J. Perry Drake was a Mexican War soldier and 
a well-known Indiana lawyer. One of his daughters, Elmira Drake, became the 
wife of General W. T. H. Brooks of the Federal army. 



In the olden days, as now, the foundation of the career of every man and 
woman depended largely on the training received in youth from his or her 
mother. The control of many mothers was confined to their own family 
fireside, where while also attending to their domestic duties they were not 
only mothers to their children but often assumed the duties of school- 
teacher. In many cases the mother, a grandmother, or an aunt was the only 
guide through the "three R's" the child of an early settler ever knew. The 


The three stone box-grave covers in the foreground are "coffin-shaped"; the 

other two are "box-shaped" 

influence of some mothers was felt far beyond their own home and neighbor- 
hood. Local public schools were few and far between. Post-primary schools 
were not established until the middle of the last century. 

Among the best known and one of the noblest of the pioneer women of 
Muhlenberg was Mrs. Tabitha A. R. Campbell, "the Mother of Greenville." 
Local tradition still tells many interesting things regarding IMrs. Campbell's 
great work in the moral and religious unbuilding of the new county and her 
deep interest in social and educational affairs. Her path through life was 
followed by her four daughters and her son. The same can be truly said of 
many others of the pioneer mothers of Muhlenberg, who although now per- 
haps forgotten, yet who in their day smoothed the rough paths over part of 
which many of their sons and daughters of the present generation are still 
treading. They were of that strong and generous type of pioneer women, 
great in virtue and sacrifice and deserving to have their names inscribed 
on a monument erected to the iNIothers of jMuhlenberg. 


On most of the old farms in Muhlenberg one can find small groups of 
old-time graves, where rest those who lived during the days of the early set- 
tlers. Public cemeteries were rare and frequently inaccessible. Few 
congregations had established a common graveyard adjoining their church 
lot before 1870. Many of the old graves in these private burying-grounds 
are marked with crude and unlettered rocks. Most of them, however, are 
identified by slabs of lettered sandstone ; a few are of white marble. In 
some sections, especially in the southern part of the county, a large number 
of the old graves are marked with stone box-covers placed over them many 
years ago. These covers were made of slabs of dressed sandstone erected 
either in the form of a long, narrow box, or in the shape of a stone coffin. 
They were placed over the graves as markers, and not — as is now sometimes 
stated — to prevent animals from digging down to the buried body. The 
custom of constructing these vault-like grave-covers was introduced by the 
pioneers and prevailed to a great extent during the first quarter of the Nine- 
teenth Century. Very few graves were marked in this solemn and pictur- 
esque manner after the year 1850. 

The olden days were the heroic age. "What Judge Little has said in sum- 
mirg up the men of Kentucky and their life in the early days is particularly 
applicable to the men and women of Muhlenberg : ' ' Existing conditions pro- 
duced a type of men surpassed by no other time or country. . . . With- 
out contrasting them or measuring them by a common standard, it is con- 
ceded that the type of the pioneer differs from his descendant of the third 
and fourth and subsequent generations. The latter, with less daring, is 
more intelligent, with less vigor lives longer, with less fortitude is more pa- 
tient, with less activity accomplishes more. To the pioneer belongs the war- 
rior's laurel — to his descendant the moral and intellectual achievements of 

" 'Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.' " 



A N EPITAPH we frequently find carved on old tombstones is 
/\ "Grone but not forgotten." These words could also very appro- 
^ j^ priately be applied to * ' Lonz Powers, or The Regulators, ' ' a novel 
published by James Weir in 1850 and now obsolete. 

"Lonz Powers" is a historical story based on the actual operations of a 
number of outlaws, and of a class of citizens known as Regulators. These 
bands of Regulators, in the early history of many sections, felt themselves 
called on to enforce the law which was being violated by the outlaws, who 
had no regard for law, human or divine. Organizations like the Regulators, 
which took the law into their own hands, are not only found in the early 
history of many communities but also exist, to some extent and in one form 
or another, even to the present day. The Ku-Klux Klan had its rise and 
fall. Up to a few years ago White Cap raids, that took place in some sec- 
tions of this and other States, were frequently reported. Unorganized 
bodies such as mobs and lynchers still occasionally take the law into their 
own hands. 

What might be called the reign of the Regulators did not begin in Muhl- 
enberg until about a quarter of a century after the county was organized. 
Regulators here were, as a rule, composed of members of some of the best 
families. Most of them were sons of pioneers, and like their fathers were 
men of good standing. For a period of about ten years, beginning about 
1820, there came into southern Muhlenberg and northern Todd and Chris- 
tian counties some settlers who, through their dishonesty, became undesir- 
able citizens. The fact that they either escaped the officials of the then slow- 
acting law, or were ignored by them, resulted in the organization of the 
Regulators, whose reign lasted until about 1850. 

The outlaws or "Roughs," whose misdeeds form a part of Muhlenberg's 
traditions, were the Andersons, the Shepherds, and the Penningtons. 

Tom Anderson was a horse and slave thief, and lived on Long Creek 
near Lead Hill Church. The Regulators burned his home about 1837 and 
drove him and his gang out of Muhlenberg County. Jack Shepherd was a 
horse-thief, and lived in Todd County near New Harmony Church, where 
he was killed by William Welborn, who with others attempted to arrest him 
together with two of his brothers and Isom Sheffield. Alonzo, or "Lonz" 
as he was called, and Morton Pennington lived in Christian County. It is 
the career of these two Penningtons, and the movements of the Regulators 
who finally brought one of them to justice and ran the other out of the 
State, that form the plot of ' ' Lonz Powers, or The Regulators. ' ' The situa- 



tion is one frequently found in the early history of new and sparsely settled 
countries. Only a few of the scenes are laid in Muhlenberg County. The 
book is here reviewed more as a literary work by a Muhlenberg man than as 
a story bearing on Muhlenberg's local history. Before attempting to sketch 
a brief history and outline of "Lonz Powers," and before commenting on 
the theme of the book, I will give a few facts from the author's life. 

James Weir was born in Greenville, Kentucky, on June 16, 1821, and 
died in Owensboro January 31, 1906. He was the son of James Weir, sr., 

and Anna Cowman (Rumsey) Weir, 
daughter of Doctor Edward Rum- 
sey, who was a brother of James 
Rumsey the inventor. James Weir 
was graduated from Centre Col- 
lege, Danville, in 1840, and the fol- 
lowing year completed a course in 
the Lexington Law School. In 1842 
he left Greenville and settled in 
Owensboro, where he began the 
practice of law and where for more 
than forty years (up to his retire- 
ment from the profession) he was 
a leading member of the local bar. 
He not only had the reputation of 
being a lawyer of the highest rank 
but was likewise well known as a 
scholarly author, a banker of abil- 
ity, a man with a kind, generous 
heart, and always worthy of the 
distinction that "among his fellow- 
citizens he stood preeminently as 
the first citizen of Owensboro."^ Many words of praise could be quoted re- 
garding the life and career of James Weir, but since it is one of his literary 
works we are about to review I shall confine myself to a few paragraphs 
from "Kentucky Biographies" on the subject. In this we read that in 1850 
he wrote "Lonz Powers, or The Regulators," and in 1852-53 "Simon Ken- 
ton, or The Scout's Revenge," and "Winter Lodge, or Vow Fulfilled," 
which novels were published by Lippincott of Philadelphia. From "Ken- 
tucky Biographies" I quote: 

These three novels gave promise of a brilliant future, but since that time 
Mr. Weir has been too much engrossed in his profession and other business 
matters to devote much time to literature, and his work in that direction has 


1 James Weir married Susan C. Green. They were the parents of ten children, 
eight of whom reached maturity: Mrs. Ann Belle (Clinton) Griffith, John G., 
Arthur W., Doctor James, Mrs. Susan Green (James Lee) Maxwell, Mrs. Norah 
(R. S.) Triplett, William L., and Paul Weir. Paul Weir is an attorney and banker 
in Owensboro. Doctor James Weir wrote two books, "Religion and Lust" and 
"The Dawn of Reason," of a scientific nature, and numerous magazine articles of 
the same character. 


been limited to an occasional sketch for the newspapers and magazines. The 
stories referred to were written in Owensboro before Mr. Weir was thirty 
years of age. 

The first of these was "Lonz Powers, or The Regulators," a romance of 
Kentucky, based on actual scenes and incidents of the early days of the 
"Dark and Bloody Ground." The second, "Simon Kenton," was designed 
to give a sketch of the habits and striking characteristics of the people of 
western North Carolina, immediately following the Revolutionary times, 
and to introduce Simon Kenton, the scout and Indian fighter, and also his 
opponent and enemy, Simon Girty, the Tory renegade. In this volume the 
character which Kenton represented came off victorious. "Winter Lodge" 
is a sequel to "Simon Kenton," in which the author introduces many of the 
most striking characters who were prominent in the early history of Ken- 
tucky, with descriptions of scenery. Mammoth Cave, the battles in which 
Kenton and Girty were engaged, and the habits and marked characteristics 
of the pioneers. The name "Winter Lodge" is derived from a cabin erected 
by Kenton, for the hero and heroine, which was ornamented with carpets 
and buffalo hides and lined with furs. Mr. Weir intended in his younger 
days to write a third volume of this series, coming down to the war of ] 812 
and the death of Kenton and Girty, but his increasing business prevented 
him from accomplishing this, and his literary work of late years has been 
undertaken as a pastime and recreation rather than a matter of business. 

Immediately after its publication "Lonz Powers" became the most pop- 
ular and enthusiastically discussed book in Western Kentucky, and in fact 
it attracted attention in literary circles throughout the whole country. The 
edition was soon exhausted, and as the writer refused to permit the issuing 
of a second edition until he could find time to revise the book, it was 
soon out of print. Later, when time for revision might have offered itself, 
the inclination on his part seemed lacking. 

It is probable that after the publication of "Lonz Powers" Weir, realiz- 
ing that since his romance would be likely to help perpetuate the name and 
deeds of his hero, decided to let its circulation spread no further. He was 
undoubtedly aware that frequently a character's fame depends more upon 
the power of his historian than upon the hero 's actual acts. Furthermore, 
through "Lonz Powers" the writer gives his opinion on a thousand and one 
subjects, and it is quite possible a few of these expressions being in advance 
of his day and time were then somewhat harshly criticised, while these same 
ideas, with one or two exceptions, are to-day accepted. This slight opposi- 
tion, and the desire not to perpetuate the name of Lonz Pennington, or 
"Lonz Powers," probably influenced James Weir to refuse the issuing of a 
second edition of this book.^ 

Whatever the reason, the work Avas not republished, and the few vol- 
umes printed of the first and only edition were soon sold or loaned to neigh- 

2 There is a story, affirmed by some and denied by others, to the effect that 
James Weir did not issue a second edition of "Lonz Powers" because a number of 
the outlaws, having recognized themselves as the originals of characters portrayed 
therein, sent the author an anonymous note in which they requested him to sup- 
press the further circulation of the book and threatened to kill him if he issued 
another edition. 


bors and friends and to kith and kin, far and near, until now, sixty years 
after, it is almost an utter impossibility to obtain a copy. But in spite of 
this fact, "Lonz Powers" is still discussed not only by the old citizens of 
Western Kentucky — many of whom read it when it first appeared — but is 
also talked about by those generations which have come upon the scene since 
the Civil War, among whom, however, there are but few who have even seen 
a single page of it. Thus, as I have said, "Gone but not forgotten" is the 
book's most appropriate epitaph. 

And now, "lest we forget," I shall attempt to perpetuate this old story 
in at least its outlines. Practically all the men and women who were old 
enough to appreciate and remember "Lonz Powers" when it first appeared 
have passed into the Great Beyond. Very few of their successors have had 
an opportunity to read it. Some have permitted their imaginations to mis- 
lead them concerning the nature of the book. Thus it is that we frequently 
hear it compared to "The Life of Jesse James," "The Texas Rangers," or 
"Tracy, the Bandit." No comparison could be more erroneous or absurd. 
To suggest that this story more closely resembles that of ' ' Robin Hood ' ' bet- 
ter approaches the mark, especially in the cave life of the bandits. 

The book is divided into two volumes, making a total of about seven hun- 
dred pages. On the title page is printed : 


The Regulators 

A Romance of Kentucky 

founded on facts 


James Weir, Esq. 

Published by Lippincott, Grambo 

& Co. 

Successors to Grigg, Elliot & Co. 



Most of the scenes in the story are laid in and around Christian County. 

It would be impossible to quote all pertaining to Muhlenberg and other 

counties of Western Kentucky without reproducing the greater part of the 

text. I shall, however, in the course of this chapter, copy many paragraphs 

word for word. 

Turning page after page we soon recognize the literary merits of this 
work, note the accuracy with which Mr. AVeir records local history and the 
vividness with which he portrays the early days. We are affected by the pa- 
thetic little sketches scattered throughout the book. We thrill at his trage- 
dies and laugh at his ever-recurring humor, wit, and fun. 

It is the story, the author tells us, of a people living "away from the 
busy haunts of commerce and from the brick, mortar and marble of the 
city ; away from the hacks and pavements ; away from baronial castles, 
brave knights and fair ladies." In the preface he says he confidently be- 
lieves "few works, claiming the title of romance, have ever comprised so 
many real characters and actual incidents. Throughout the particular local- 



ities of the story hundreds of persons may be found who will detect, in the 
career of the hero, a transcript of the life and adventures of one Edward 
Alonzo Pennington; and although the author, in the exercise of one of the 
privileges of the craft, has brought many of the minor characters and inci- 
dents of the bsok into a new juxtaposition, yet many of these will also be 
recognized, with equal facilitj^ as real and true." 

As to the identity of some of the other characters represented, or to 
what extent they are true portrayals of the originals, no one seems now to 

Built about 1816. In this house the author of "Lonz Powers" was born 

be able to state with any certainty. Tradition has it that Francis P. Pen- 
nington is the name of the father of Alonzo and Morton, and that Alonzo 's 
wife was a Miss Gates, a granddaughter of pioneer Jesse Gates. The 
''G'Rourke" of the book was Simon Davis, a stone mason. "Gld Sisk" is 
very likely drawn from a certain Frank Cessna, or Cisney, and also a Shef- 
field. According to tradition — which differs in some instances greatly from 
the written romance — Alonzo Pennington was pursued and arrested by Doc- 
tor Reece Bourland, living near Hopkinsville, who captured the outlaw 
while he was playing a '' breakdown" on his fiddle at a cowboy dance in 
Northeastern Texas. But, according to the author, Lonz was captured in 
the Lone Star State by "Charles Burton," a leading but fictitious character 
whose romantic career adds much to the interest of the book. The court rec- 
ords show that John McLaming was the prosecuting attorney for Christian 
county when Alonzo Pennington was tried and condemned in April, 1846, 
and Colonel James F. Buckner, then of Hopkinsville, was employed by the 
defense, a duty that was considered dangerous, yet discharged with cour- 
age by young Buckner. 


The plot of "Lonz Powers" is a very thrilling one. It holds the read- 
er's interest from the beginning to the end. Now and then the author leads 
up to a melodramatic climax. But after all it is not, in my opinion, the ex- 
citing plot that gives the book its value. It is the author's literary style, 
his portrayal of the Regulators and their times and his frequent digressions, 
in which he expresses himself on various subjects, that give the work its 
value. I shall attempt to give a brief outline of the plot, incidentally ac- 
companying that outline with quotations from the book, and add a few re- 
marks based on tradition. 

The story begins at a time when Southern Kentucky was yet almost a 
wilderness. The Powers farm, "Forest Home," "presented as beautiful 
and inviting a scene as the most impassioned lover of Nature could desire." 
Its two hundred acres "lay imbedded in a deep and almost impenetrable 
forest." Its well-kept barns sheltered blooded stock, and evidences were 
many that the inmates of the comfortable home lived in a style befitting 
country gentry of the time and place. The sons of the house, Lonz and ]\[or- 
ton, were young men of widely different dispositions — Lonz even then a 
stern fatalist, and Morton gay, brilliant, changeable, and led at all times by 
his elder brother. 

To pay a gambling debt, Lonz Powers stole several blooded mares from 
his father's farm. The fact that Lonz was guilty of this theft was known 
only to four persons — to himself, his brother Morton, to a character we 
shall later know as "the Colonel," and to Charles Burton. Burton and his 
wife, Laura, had a few years previous removed to this neighborhood from 
Virginia, It was by mere chance that Burton discovered Lonz taking the 

In this same neighborhood lived a man called, from his prematurely 
gray hair, ' ' Old Sisk. ' ' Previous to his settlement in Kentucky he had com- 
mitted crimes, knowledge of which had followed him, and though he had 
lived uprightly in the midst of a little colony of which he was head by rea- 
son of his superior intelligence and education, his past record being against 
him he was arrested and placed in jail for Lonz Powers' crime — namely, 
that of horse-stealing. 

On the day preceding the trial of Old Sisk, Lonz pleaded with Burton to 
divulge none of the proceedings he had accidentally witnessed. But silence 
on the part of Burton would have meant the imprisonment of Old Sisk for 
a tlieft committed by Lonz. So Burton told Ijouz he would "tell the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," no matter whom it helped or 

That night, just before retiring, Charles Burton, "leaving his chair by 
the fire, walked to the open door and there leaning against the rustic pillar 
of the porch, while gazing at the moon, just rising over the dark veil of the 
forest, was shot" from ambush by Lonz Powers, who had shrewdly taken 
every precaution to cover his tracks and divert suspicion. 

During the few years preceding this murder various persons had been 
robbed along the highways and byways and many horses had been stolen, 
but no guilty parties had ever been located by officials or other citizens. The 
murder of Charles Burton now shook the whole community, wliich, as it 


gathered around the dead man's home and there beheld his young widow 
and their son, Charles, about eight years old, declared it had now fallen on 
the citizens to avenge this daring and bloody deed. 

Every man present seemed enthusiastically in favor of such action — 
none more than Lonz Powers himself, whose own father was made chairman 
of the assembly. A few of the wiser and cooler heads were for lawful pro- 
ceedings, but the majority were moved by the insinuations of Lonz (whose 
purpose is clear to the reader) that Old Sisk, though in jail awaiting trial, 
was the instigator of this foul deed. Morton (who was ignorant of the fact 
that his brother was the murderer) made a speech to the crowd, during the 
course of which he said : 

But they say we have no proof of tlie guilt of Old Sisk or the guilt of his 
gang in this murder. If they are innocent then who can be guilty ? . . . 
Old Sisk knew that Burton was a witness for the Commonwealth . . . and 
that such a witness as Burton was more than enough to cause his conviction 
and death. . . . The citizens of a neighboring county were long infected 
by just such another band. Tom Anderson and his fierce crew of outlaws, 
for years and years, committed crime after crime, and the law made futile 
and fruitless efforts to convict and punish them. At last the people, having 
borne and suffered as long as to bear and suffer was wise and honorable, 
arose in their power and majesty, and casting aside for the mom.ent laws — 
in that case vain and useless — swept in the hour of their anger this entire 
band from the county, and drove them homeless and houseless to another 
land. Shall we now follow their example, and treat in the same manner this 
cursed gang? Or shall we weakly submit and retire to our homes, leaving 
this atrocious and cowardly assassination of a friend and neighbor unpun- 
ished and unavenged ? 

The crowd, fired by his daring speech, soon left the Sisk home a pile of 
smoldering ashes, and made his wife and children fugitives. Thus took 
place the organization of this band of Regulators, according to the author of 
"Lonz Powers." Old Sisk, an unfortunate victim of prejudice and popular 
excitement, was convicted of the crime of horse-stealing, of which he was in- 
nocent, and sent to prison for fifteen years. There was, of course, no evi- 
dence to convict him of Burton's murder. 

Fifteen years have joined the endless train of eternity since the scenes 
described in our foregoing chapters. Fifteen years of sunshine and storm, of 
winter and summer, of springtime and harvest, have come and gone. Tread- 
ing on with quiet, but regular and ever-moving steps, old Time has gingerly 
tripped along, like some light-hearted maiden over the dewy grass, scarcel}^ 
leaving a trace of his passage. For fifteen full, long years have the flowers 
bloomed only to wither, and man has been born only to die. For fifteen 
years Time, like interest, has never slept, but has stolen by with noiseless 
tread while we were sleeping; thus hurrying on, careless, reckless, and ig- 
norant, still nearer to the grave. . . . 

But you must not suppose, gentle reader, that because fifteen years have 
gone, and we have seen proper to pass them over in silence, that they have 
fled like a day, without producing many changes. During that period, wars 
and revolutions have convulsed the world; kingdoms have sunk into ruin 


and risen again; men, religion, polities, the sciences and arts, have all been 
remodeled, and have thrown off their ancient garbs and appeared in holiday 
dress, to suit the march of intellect or change in taste. Like flowers trans- 
planted, the change has bettered some and injured others. 

During these fifteen years many strange inventions have startled the eye 
of man. The iron horse has trampled his way through forest and over 
mountains, dragging after him long trains of wealth, and driving away, 
with his wild whistle and hoarse snort, the old rumbling conveyances of our 
fathers, and speeding along with all the force and power of steam, reckless 
alike of toil or distance. The bright forerunner of the thunderbolt has been 
snatched from the whirling clouds, and made the post-boy of this intelligent 
and progressive age. Steam has dashed aside the dark bosom of the ocean, 
and careless alike of wind or wave, brought the old and new worlds in a few 
days' travel of each other. . . . 

During that period many changes have occurred in the scenes and char- 
acters of our present story. The country, then almost a wilderness, is now 
teeming with life ; the activity' and energy of our moving and restless race 
has filled the old forests ; and broad farms, golden with grain, and made 
glad by all the comforts and necessaries, and even luxuries of life, have 
taken the place of wild wood and tangled briar. The little village of Hop- 
kinsville now aspires to the dignity of a city ; the sluggish waters of Pond 
River have now, by the wisdom of our Legislature, been declared (what God 
never intended) navigable— whether for steamboats, broadhorns or dug- 
outs, our wise lawmakers did not see proper to mention. . . . 

Fifteen years have fled ! Long, weary and solitary to Old Sisk, for they 
had been spent in the gloomy, silent cells of a prison, and had been made 
even longer and more dreary than they really were by the fierce raging of 
never-sleeping passion, coupled with an insane and almost hopeless longing 
for freedom. ... In person he was almost gigantic — a perfect specimen 
of thews and sinews ; and as he wielded his hammer in the forge of the peni- 
tentiary, with his stern face illuminated by the blazing metal, and dark with 
passion and malice, he would have made a glorious picture for the God of 
the Inf ernals. He loved that work, for every stroke he gave the fusing iron, 
he fancied it a death-blow to an enemy and oppressor. . . . He loved 
to hear the ringing sound of his blows, and see the firm iron crush beneath 
his stroke ; for he knew then that the power and force of his arm was not 
yet destroyed, and that he was still able to execute the vengeful schemes of 
his dark and unforgiving heart. . . . 

Old Sisk is now, after fifteen years' absence, approaching with slow and 
wearied but steady and firm tread the location of his once comfortable, and 
to him, perhaps, happy home. No wife or child or kindred are there to greet 
and welcome that old man ; to soothe him in his hour of darkness, and re- 
joice over his return. . . . He slept that night stretched on the green sod 
where once stood his pleasant home, and there will he dream either of hap- 
pier days or of bloody vengeance. 

Thus is freed the instrument of fate. 

This intermission of fifteen years brings the story of "Lonz Powers" 
down to about 1844. Charles Burton, jr., who after the death of his father 
had been sent to his grandfather in Virginia, had grown to young manhood 
and had just returned to Kentucky, the scene of his early life. Old Sisk, 
having served out his prison term, had come back, as already shown, an em- 


bittered, revengeful man. Lonz Powers had married Mary Warren, and 
was living on a farm near his old home. lie and his brother had a bad rep- 
utation in the neighborhood, but no one could point to any real lawbreaking 
on their part. Their old father, still living at "Forest Home," almost a 
ruin, sat dreaming over his wrecked fortune and the almost ruined reputa- 
tions of his once darling sons. 

During these fifteen years the hypocrites among the Regulators with- 
drew from the association, declining, as they put it, to ally themselves with 
such an organization, but secretly associated themselves with a band of out- 
laws by whom many former crimes had been committed. 

The writer says: "For a space of two years previous to the present 
period of this narrative the entire southern portion of Kentucky, from the 
Ohio River, or from the counties around Fort Massac in the State of Illi- 
nois, across to the Tennessee line, running along up through the counties of 
Hickman, Caldwell, Hopkins, Christian and so on to Nashville, and through 
Tennessee to the States of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, had been in- 
fested and preyed upon by a daring gang of robbers, horse-thieves and coun- 
terfeiters, who had, as yet, escaped all discovery or punishment." 

The representatives of that fraternity of outlaws who plied between the 
Green and Tennessee rivers established their headquarters in a cave, de- 
scribed in this story as being located near Pilot Rock in Christian County. 
Of this organization Lonz Powers was the leader. Among themselves this 
retreat was known as "The Hermitage." Besides Lonz, to whom they re- 
ferred as Captain, there were about five other leaders and a greater number 
of subordinates or "strikers." 

Morton Powers was usually second in command. The Monk, Pilot, or 
Dick Murdock, as he was variously called, was an old flatboat man and 
river pilot, and frequently entertained his brothers with a raft full of fun. 
Old Sisk was another of the leaders, for he had joined this band after his 
release from prison as a means of being more easily revenged on his enemies, 
the Regulators. Then, too, there was a character known as the Parson, who, 
in the capacity of circuit rider, held camp-meetings while his brothers in 
crime preyed upon the praying mourners by appropriating their horses. 
Last, but not least in wickedness by any means, was the Colonel, the gam- 
bler who had first led Lonz Powers into crime and who was the sharer of his 
first guilty secret. 

In the course of the narrative each man tells the story of his life to his 
assembled companions while idly sitting around in the cave. Some of these 
are daring, some pathetic, some humorous. Each would make an interesting 
story in itself. The Colonel, a card sharp, was not sparing of humor, and 
among other things, while speaking of his past, is made to remark : " In 
those days I scattered my money about like a prince. No one, you know, 
had a better right than myself to ape the luxury and expense of royalty, for 
all my funds had been given me by kings and queens." 

Returning to the plot, it develops that a young Irishman named 
'Rourke is making preparations to visit his native isle, and it is therefore 
supposed he will have money on his person. Lonz hears that 'Rourke in- 
tends to come to the muster which is to take place at Pleasant Hill, a drill- 


ing ground in the northwestern part of Christian County.^ For Lonz to 
hear was to plan, so he at once made up his mind that not only the Irish- 
man's money but his rich farm should soon become his owti. Thus, w^orking 
on the revengeful mind of Old Sisk by telling him that 'Rourke had been 
among the destroyers of his home, he plots to kill 'Rourke on his way from 
the muster. 

Lonz and the Irishman meet after tlie muster and proceed t-oward their 
homes, and according to Lonz's prearranged orders they are soon overtaken 
by Old Sisk, who is to deal the death blow when Lonz pronounces the 
words, " And this is the end ? " 'Rourke tells the story of his life, his 
early struggles, his final success; of his love and his loss, and of his mother 
and sister who eagerly await hira at his old home in Ireland, where the}^ 
are happy in the hope of returning to America with him. By this time 
"they had traveled four miles from the training ground and were in the 
midst of a broken and rugged chain of hills.'' Thus they reached Cave Hill, 
near what is now Haley's Mill, in Christian County. When 'Rourke had 
finished his story, Lonz, unaffected by the pathetic recital, gave the signal, 
"And is this the end?" — in response to which Old Sisk struck the fatal 
blow, but it was not without much struggling that their wicked work was 
finished and their victim robbed and his bodj^ thrown into a nearby pit, 
since known as Davis Cave. 

Lonz's versatile talents were next to be applied to accomplishing a rob- 
bery on a larger scale than any he had j^et attempted. It was rumored that 
the safe in the Bank of Kentucky in Hopkinsville contained "six hundred 
thousand dollars" (more or less). Lonz decided to enrich himself with at 
least a part of that amount. As usual, he played upon Old Sisk's desire for 
retaliation by putting him under the false impression that the cashier had 
been present at the burning of his home, fifteen years before. 

On the night set for the robbery Lonz stationed a number of his men at 
various places around the bank to act as guards, while he and Old Sisk were 
to do the actual work. They concealed themselves in some shrubbery in the 
yard near the rear door of the building, prepared to make a charge on the 
cashier, whom they judged was alone at the time, for the front door had 
been locked several hours before. But it suddenly developed that another 
man was with the cashier. The robbers did not know that young Charles 
Burton had returned to Kentucky. 

At this moment Burton, walking to the open door of the bank, folded his 
arms across his bosom, and leaning against the post, gazed thoughtfully out 
over the garden. Lonz sank upon the ground as if a bullet had passed 
through his brain, w-hile his heart beat quick and fast, and he gasped and 
struggled for breath, like a man when laboring under a horrible nightmare. 
Covering his blanched face with his hands, as if he would shut out some ter- 
rible sight, he murmured : ' ' 'Tis his ghost ! And standing in the same posi- 
tion and attitude as when I last saw him fifteen years ago!" 

^ James Weir's description of the old militia muster is quoted in full in the 
chapter on "The Old :Militia ^Muster." 


Young Burton having heard this outburst of surprise and horror, 
quietly, but much bewildered, stepped back into the bank. In the meantime 
the robbers, suspecting they were detected, returned homeward and gave up 
the attempt. In the course of a few hours, however, the enraged Lonz 
learned that the "ghost" he had seen standing in the open door was not that 
of Charles Burton, the man he had killed fifteen years before, but the living 
son of the murdered father, to whom the son bore a striking resemblance. 

The next morning young Burton left Hopkinsville on his return to the 
home of Major Thompson, whom he was visiting and whose daughter Julia 
was receiving much of his attention. Young Burton had not seen Lonz 
Powers since his early childhood. By a strange and unfortunate coinci- 
dence he was overtaken by Lonz, who introduced himself as Jack Randolph. 
In the course of their conversation Burton, wishing to show a friendly feel- 
ing toward his new acquaintance, who claimed to be an old friend of his 
father, kindly suggested to Randolph, "If you ever need the services of a 
strong arm or the aid of a long purse, never be backward in calling on the 
son of your old friend." These overtures were declined with thanks by his 
new acquaintance, who pretended to be much insulted by such an offer. 
Burton then begged his pardon, after which Randolph remarked, "No man 
was ever seriously insulted by the offer of money, for that is an insult very 
seldom given and when once given very soon forgotten." 

That "a man may smile and smile and be a villain still" certainly is ap- 
plicable to Lonz, for a few moments after their pleasant conversation he de- 
liberately shot Burton, robbed him, and left him Ijang apparently dead on 
the highway, where he was soon afterward discovered by some friends and 
taken to Major Thompson's home, where he received the best attention 
from his prospective mother-in-law, his ladylove, and fox-hunter Thomp- 
son, and soon recovered. 

At some time in the life of almost every daring man we find he over- 
reaches himself. This was to be Lonz's fate, and he was about to engineer 
a robbery, small in itself, but upon which depended his final undoing. Some 
of his band descended upon the then quiet village of Greenville, and robbing 
a store there, were followed by the fully awakened townsmen ; one of the 
thieves was captured. This reference to Greenville, the town of Mr. Weir's 
birth and youth, arouses a reminiscent spirit, resulting in a description of 
which the author of "Sleepy Hollow" himself might well have felt proud.* 

Now we shift the scene to Pilot Rock, in Christian County, where a small 
party of young lovers are picnicking, among whom are, of course, our hero 
Charles Burton and his heroine Julia Thompson. This famous rock and re- 
sort is, according to "Lonz Powers," located in the immediate vicinity of 
the cave of the robbers, and being so frequently visited by picnic parties the 
outlaws decided to make the place less popular in the future by capturing 
the girls of this jolly party and holding them prisoners in their hidden and 
undiscovered retreat. This they did, and left the struggling young men 
bound to trees. After the young men had liberated themselves, failing to 

* James Weir's description of Greenville is quoted in the chapter entitled 
"'Greenville as described in 'Lonz Powers.' " 


locate the whereabouts of the stolen girls, they rushed home to their families 
and friends, spreading the alarm of this daring abduction. 

By noon of the following day more than five hundred men were gathered 
upon and about the rock. Every stone and crevice in the neighborhood had 
been examined for some traces of the girls or robbers, but as yet without 

In the meantime Old Sisk and his companions and their captives were 
securely concealed in the cave. One robber, as said, had been captured near 
Greenville a few days before. He was brought to the scene by some of the 
Regulators. Having refused to make a confession, he was stripped and 
bound to a tree and then whipped, and after much pounding and persuad- 
ing and a promise of liberty he revealed the names of the outlaws. 

"He was ignorant of the seizure of the girls and the names of their ab- 
ductors, but had no doubt they were some of the band to which he belonged. 
He declared that Lonz and Morton Powers were the leaders of the daring 
gang which had so long infested the country, and gave the names of many 
of the citizens of the country and surrounding counties who were secret 
members of the numerous and widespread association." Every name men- 
tioned created a surprise. Even Lonz and Morton Powers were heretofore 

A consultation followed, after which about fifty Regulators marched to 
the home of Morton, and marching away again left it in flames. They next 
visited the home of Lonz, determined to burn it down also and give him a 
good lashing. Through his wife's heroic intercession he was spared on con- 
dition that he leave Kentucky at once. Then the Regulators turned toward 
"Forest Home," having resolved to send the father of these two outlaws 
out of the State, but the pleadings of the innocent old man were so pathetic 
that the Regulators changed their resolution and permitted him to remain. 

In the meantime the girls were still captives in the undiscovered cave. 
Five dark and weary days and nights they spent anxiously waiting to be 
rescued. However, all this while they were gallantly protected from Old 
Sisk and the other villains by the Pilot and the Parson, who although out- 
laws like their companions in iniquity had still some traits of decent char- 
acter. Five long and diligent days and nights were spent around Pilot 
Rock by the searching party. At last their efforts were rewarded, for Bur- 
ton discovered the entrance to the secret cave. 

Lonz and Morton being absent during the abduction, the besieged, 
quarrelling among themselves in the cave, could hold out no longer. An ex- 
citing conflict followed between the robbers and the rescuers. One of the 
outlaws dashed out the brains of the Colonel. Two or three of the other 
bandits were killed, among whom unfortunately was the Parson, who had 
so courageously aided the Pilot in defending the fair prisoners. The girls 
were liberated, safe and unharmed but nervous and exhausted, and, of 
course, "Julia, half crazed with delight, sprang forward to meet Burton 
and fell fainting upon the bosom of her lover and deliverer." 

The lash was applied freely to all the captured outlaws except the Pilot, 
who having helped protect the girls was now left unwhipped, and who was 
later pardoned by the Governor on Burton's petition. The revengeful Old 



Sisk willingly made a confession, for he had long entertained a secret deter- 
mination to betray Lonz and Morton, whose connection with his false con- 
viction and imprisonment for horse-stealing he had learned from bits of 
their overheard conversation and hints from the Colonel, who knew the real 
criminals. Old Sisk gave a brief history of the maneuvers of the outlaws, 
saying, among other things, that "Lonz was the thief of his father's horses, 
for which crime I suffered fifteen years imprisonment ; he was the mur- 


derer of Burton's father, who was witness of his guilt; he was the instiga- 
tor of the Regulators who drove away my family and burnt my home. 
Since that time he has been a gambler, a robber, counterfeiter and kidnap- 
per. A few weeks ago he murdered the young Irishman, O'Rourke, and 
threw his body into the pit. It was Lonz Powers who planned to rob the 
bank in Hopkinsville, but failed because when he saw Burton standing in 
the back door he believed him to be his father's ghost, and the next day, 
under the false name of Jack Randolph, he came very near murdering 
young Burton." 

This certainly was a very interesting confession to the Regulators. How- 
ever, Old Sisk failed to relate his own connection with the murder of 
O'Rourke. About this time Morton Powers suddenly disappeared, and ac- 
cording to the story was seen only once after this exposure. 

Lonz having learned from some of his secret associates that the cave had 
been discovered and that he had been betrayed by Old Sisk, ' ' fled as fast as 
horse and terror and money could take him, for flight was now his only hope 
of safety," until finally he arrived at "one of the most remote settlements in 
Texas, then the great valley of refuge for felons." There he associated 
with a crowd of strangers, who like himself were fugitives from justice. 

Burton, now knowing his father's murderer, determined to avenge the 
terrible deed. He pursued Lonz, and with the aid of the Pilot arrested him 
in Texas, where he was taking part in a cowboy dance. 


While Burton and the Pilot were pursuing Lonz in Texas the Regulators 
were still at work in Kentucky, Old Sisk was confined in the jail at Hop- 
kinsville, where he had remained until the present moment. The commu- 
nity, hoping that Lonz Powers might be taken, and trusting with the evi- 
dence of Old Sisk to be able to convict him of the murder of O'Rourke and 
bring him to punishment, had quietly permitted the old convict to remain 
in jail. But when week after week rolled by and nothing was heard of the 
fugitive, secret whisperings and threats against the prisoner were bandied 
about among the Regulators, or rather those who had the strongest reason 
to fear the bloody vengeance of the fierce old man ; and as the time for the 
convening of the circuit court was drawing rapidly near and he would soon 
be taken under the power and control of the law, and as they feared, on ac- 
count of want of testimony, would either escape or be sentenced to only a 
few years of imprisonment, they determined to take vengeance into their 
own hands and thus rid themselves of all future fear. 

In order to carry out these plans Old Sisk and his fellow-prisoners were 
secretly supplied with a small file and a highly tempered saw, accompanied 
by a note signed by "friends from without," saying "at 12 o'clock to-night 
we intend to undermine the northwest corner of j'^our jail and set you at 
liberty." The prisoners filed away all day and at midnight crawled, to 
their great surprise, into the arms of the Regulators. They were taken to 
the spot where O'Rourke had been murdered by Lonz Powers aided by Old 
Sisk. Old Sisk admitted he had aided in the murder of the young Irishman 
on his return from the muster, but explained that it was all done at the in- 
stigation of Lonz. Old Sisk pleaded for his life, and begged to be permitted 
to live until he could kill Lonz, swearing by all things living and dead that 
after he had seen Lonz die and thus satisfied his aching for revenge he 
would return and submit to any punishment they cared to inflict. 

But his prayers were all in vain. "Directly in front of Old Sisk stood 
twenty men grasping their long rifles, and silently awaiting the command 
of their leader. They had been chosen by lot before the coming of the vic- 
tim, and only ten of the rifles were loaded with ball, and so prepared that 
the executioners might be ignorant who were the real destroyers." A quick, 
ringing volley followed the signal of their leader ; Old Sisk fell, and disap- 
peared into the mouth of the same cavern into which he and Lonz had 
thrown the body of 'Rourke a few Aveeks before. The other outlaws who 
had been taken from the jail along with Old Sisk were each given a hundred 
lashes and then driven out of the county. 

In due time Lonz was brought from Texas and safely lodged in the Hop- 
kinsville jail. The authorities, learning from experience, did not lock him 
in the cell recently vacated by Old Sisk, but placed him under heavy guard 
to prevent his escape or rescue. During his imprisonment his true and 
faithful wife called on him frequently, consoled him, and even to the last 
believed him innocent. 

Lonz was tried for the murder of O'Rourke, found guilty, and hanged. 
On the day of the execution, which took place Friday, May 1, 1846, people 
came from far and near to witness the hanging. Very likely Charles Bur- 
ton and his bride Julia were in the great crowd, for their gay and festive 


wedding celebration had taken place shortly after Burton returned from 
the West with his prisoner, Lonz Powers. Morton Powers, too, according 
to the story, was among the spectators of the hanging, but in disguise. Tra- 
dition says that some years after Lonz's death Morton appeared at the homo 
of his brother's widow, where as an unwelcome guest he lingered for a few 
weeks. Fearing that his shiftless life would have a bad influence on her 
children, Mary Powers called in her neighbors to run him away. At her re- 
quest he was given an application of "hickory oil," after which he fled the 
county without delay. 

Lonz met death bravely and without any unusual demonstrations. Thus 
ended the life of a brilliant but misguided and misguiding man, who if his 
abilities had been applied in a legitimate course might have had as great an 
influence for good as he had for evil. As it is, he has the distinction of be- 
ing one of the greatest outlaws in Western Kentucky, and also the distinc- 
tion of being the first man legally hanged in Christian County. 

There is a tradition to the effect that when Lonz stood on the scaffold 
with the hangman 's rope around his neck he asked for his old violin, which 
was handed to him and he played a musical composition of his own, entitled 
"Pennington's Farewell." Nothing is said about such a scene by the 
author of "Lonz Powers," and it is therefore likely that this sometimes 
confirmed but usually denied incident is groundless. 

Another tradition says that in the first attempt made to hang Lonz the 
rope broke, and he then cried out, "See, gentlemen, this is proof of my in- 
nocence!" The sheriff, however, proceeded with the work, and thus ended 
Lonz's earthly career. A denial of his guilt, and not a tune on his fiddle, 
was "Pennington's Farewell. "^ 

In justice to the Penningtons, it must be said that Lonz's heartbroken 
father was an honest and upright man. Lonz's wife (who remained a 
widow and died in 1892) and their five children all lived to old age, and 
each during his or her entire life proved a credit to their county. So, too, 
his many grandchildren, now living in various parts of Kentucky, are all, 
without a single exception, good and highly respected citizens. 

As to the Regulators and their methods, the author brings up many 
arguments for discussion. He admits that lynch law as a general custom 
may be injurious and in some cases unjust. In this instance he asks the 
reader to bear in mind the fact that at the time and in the country de- 
scribed the inhabitants were few and lived far from any seat of govern- 
ment; that they were constantly suffering from the bold and unpunished 
work of outlaws, and that most of them practically depended upon them- 
selves and their own efforts for obtaining their necessities. They raised 
their own bread, shot their own meat, spun their own cloth, and also en- 
forced their own laws. 

' One version has it that the day Pennington was hanged he not only played 
"Pennington's Farewell" on his violin, but also recited what has ever since been 
referred to as "Pennington's Lament": 

"Oh, dreadful, dark and dismal day, 
How have my joys all passed away! 
My sun's gone down, my days are done. 
My race on earth has now been run." 



Commenting on this subject, Mr. Weir says: "Had not the Regulators 
pursued the course described in the present case, they never would have 
discovered the nest of villains, and they might have gone on step by step, 
until it would have become dangerous for an honest man to move from his 
door, unless armed and guarded as if in the country of an enemy. It is 
true, lynching may at times result in the punishment of innocent men. Ras- 
cals may ever and anon take advantage of the custom to revenge themselves 
upon their enemies. The law itself may, in a manner, be brought into con- 

Two rocks on the graves of Lonz Pennington and his wife, buried in Christian County, and 

A. Webster McCown and Richard T. Martin, who after a long and 

careful search located them 

tempt by a reckless indifference of appealing to it for punishment or pro- 
tection. But, upon the whole, taking everything into consideration, time, 
place and circumstances, we think regulating or lynching, although an evil, 
was then sometimes a necessary one. ' ' 

"A multitude of furious, reckless and unmanageable men," continues 
Mr. "Weir, "assembled together in some city, bent upon the destruction of 
property or punishment of obnoxious persons, is called a mob. A company 
of men assembled with the same purpose or design, but meeting in the woods 
instead of the city, are dubbed with the title of Regulators. A community 
uniting together with the intent of resisting the laws of the land and over- 
throwing the regularly constituted government, if unsuccessful, receives the 
odious name of rebels ; but if their attempt be crowned with victory, then, 
instead of rebellion, it is dignified wdth the more exalted and glorious title 
of revolution." 

After referring to Ireland's wrongs, to "Louis Philippe with a recollec- 
tion of a former revolution in France," to the troubles of Germany and 
Italy, and to how "Emperor and Pope have alike been compelled to submit 
to the expanding will of the people," the author adds (failing, however, to 


refer to anarchy and its troubles) : "Our Regulators, who were nothing 
more nor less than a country mob, had their evils to remedy, and, as they 
met with entire and complete success in all their undertakings, the only 
question that now remains is whether they, like the victorious French, shall 
be applauded, or like the unsuccessful Irish, meet with condemnation." 
Since the work of the Regulators and the execution of Lonz Pennington re- 
sulted in a general suppression of lawlessness and a general reformation of 
the countrj^, Mr. Weir is, of course, inclined to say "they shall be ap- 

One is indeed tempted to refer to many other arguments and incidents 
introduced by the author and to quote from them. But the selection is so 
large and varied that one scarce knows which to choose. Besides, lack of 
space limits this chapter to a short biographical sketch of the author, to a 
rough outline of the plot of "Lonz PoM'^ers," and to a few remarks on the 
subject of the Regulators. These three subjects I have briefly reviewed. 
However, this review would be far from complete if I did not refer to the 
fact that during the course of the story the author discusses, at length and 
in a very entertaining manner, the many subjects that are incidentally in- 

These communings, meditations, descriptions, and moralizations are in- 
teresting and unusually humorous. Among "the themes which skirt the 
roadside of the narrative" are ]\Ir. Weir's description of the old military 
muster, Pilot Rock and The Barrens, a dog supper, a steeplechase, and the 
improbable style of conversation as given in fiction; hereditary vices and 
virtues; the tree of life; influence of victuals on verse; prospects of war in 
the indissoluble Union ; modes of deer-hunting in Kentucky ; botanizing as 
an art in courtship; knitting and its effects upon lovers and the price of 
socks; hypocrisy among the so-called admirers of Milton's Paradise Lost; 
the road- working age of old men and young boys ; grammar from a theo- 
retical and practical standpoint ; the bliss of a brandy cocktail, and a score 
or two of other themes. 

I have tried to present a general idea of "Lonz Powers, or The Regu- 
lators," the author's versatility, literary style, his complete conception of 
the subject, and his thorough knowledge of the old-time Regulators. I 
found it an extremely interesting book from a historical and literary as well 
as from a local standpoint. 


AS already stated, "Lonz Powers" was published in 1850. The 
author devotes his twenty-ninth chapter to tlie town of his birth — 
Greenville. This entire chapter, with the exception of about one 
page of irrelevant dialogue, is here reproduced. 
In the early part of his reminiscences Mr. Weir gives a picture of Green- 
ville as it was when he was a schoolboy in the early thirties of the last cen- 
tury. The "Village Tavern" referred to was the old Russell Tavern, which 
was among the first houses built in Greenville and was conducted by the 
Kussells for more than half a century. The "sweet little church" was the old 
Presbyterian church east of the courthouse. The "old soldier of the second 
war" of whom he writes is Charles Fox Wing. The "auger-hole" incident, 
according to the story of "Lonz Powers," took place in 1844. The "Dutch- 
man's" store, tradition says, was run by two brothers, Isaac and Simon 
Oberdorfer, who after living in Greenville for a few years returned to their 
native town in another part of the State. 

It may be well to remind the reader that in the preface to "Lonz 
Powers" Mr. Weir remarks that his story is "founded on fact," but that as 
an author he sometimes indulges in "the privileges of the craft." To what 
extent he has here, at times, indulged in an author's license can be more 
readily seen than told. In the whole sketch we may read the good-humored 
satire of the young Greenvillian who had removed to a larger and more 
bustling community. Nevertheless it contains much that is tender recollec- 
tion. The sketch follows: 

The little town of Greenville located on, if not seven hills, — like the im- 
mortal city of the Caesars, — at least half that number, was, a few days after 
the events described in our last chapter [his chapter XXVIII], the theatre of 
great excitement, and not a little wonder and astonishment. You must un- 
derstand, dear reader, that year after year, for at least one generation pre- 
ceding tlie incidents we are now about relating, the good citizens of this 
primitive town liad lived, or rather vegetated, in one great, grand calm, un- 
ruffled by a single storm. 

From time immemorial (or at least so far back as my memory runnetli, 
for this quiet spot was my birthplace) the bell on the village tavern had 
rung out its alarm-notes for breakfast long before the peep of day ; dinner 
followed at eleven, supper at four, and by seven, or eight at the outside, all 
the sober and respectable portion of the villagers were in bed. Yet I have 
known — although it was by no means a frequent thing — some wild, dissi- 
pated young blades (as they were then called), greatly, to the horror and 



grief of the elder inhabitants, set upon a spree, eating eggs and hiekory- 
nuts, at least an hour later than the prescribed time. 

The customs of this retired village were as ancient as the village itself, 
and never changed nor varied in the least, for the good villagers not once 
dreamed of wandering a hair's breadth from the old beaten path of their 
fathers. Week after week, month after month, and year after year, quietly 
stole by, but the people, the to^^■n. 
and the fashions continued one and 
the same, unchanged, and, in their 
estimation, unchangeable. 

The citizens sat at the same cor- 
ners, and under the same shade- 
trees, and nearly, if not altogether, 
the same men and boys, father and 
son, day by day, as they had done 
for a quarter of a century. A 
stranger might have ridden 
through that quiet and peaceful 
little town, at the period of whicli 
we are speaking, continued his- 
journey through Europe, Asia, and 
Africa, consuming half a lifetime. 
and tlien returning, would have 
found exactly the same company, 
sitting in the same place, engaged 
in the same business, and talking 
pretty much about the same things. 
The houses, gardens, yards, shops, 
stores, and taverns never changed 
owners, occupiers, or signs, and. 
what was still more singular, never grew any better or worse. They re- 
mained always looking just the same as though death had swept away the 
entire community, and time, with its ravages and decay, so far as they were 
concerned, had ceased to be. 

The old seminary (a sacred and holy place in our memory) perched 
upon one hill — the sweet little church upon another — and the courthouse 
and jail (as if typical of justice guarded by religion and education) imme- 
diately between, have remained just in that position, never improving nor 
growing worse, until the memory of man knoweth not to the contrary. We 
have many pleasant memories of that old seminary, and of the ancient ped- 
agogues who figured and flourished there in the happy days of our boyhood. 
Like the village itself, our old schoolmasters were an odd, unaccountable 
set, with queer notions of their own, for those fashioners and formers of the 
mind, those polishers and beautifiers of the most glorious gift of God to man, 
those workers not in gold and jewels, but in a far more precious and price- 
less commodity, who figured upon the stage in my day, were a species 

1 Mrs. William H. Yost, sr. (Mrs. Jonathan 
Short), in 1864 

1 Lucy Wing, daughter of Charles Fox Wing, in 1S46 married Jonathan Short, 
who died in 1882. In 1888 she became the third wife of Doctor William H. Yost! 
She was born in Greenville, June 16, 1822, and has lived there all her life — more 
than ninety years. She is known as the "Grand Old Lady of Greenville." During 
the time referred to by James Weir in his recollections of Greenville she was a 
girl of about ten. (See footnote 2, page 79.) 



Strange and unique, and bearing very little, if any, resemblance to the 
genus pedagogue of this steam-engine age. 

I well remember one of these ancient trainers of the young mind, who, 
for want of a better, was for a time made grand Czar of the old seminary^ 
and I can never, even now, think of his little school, and the rare scenes en- 
acted under his reign and superintendence, without a burst of laughter. 

He was an odd, dis- 
jointed little fellow, — a rev- 
erend, by the by, — without 
much knowledge of books and 
with still less of politeness or 
etiquette, yet on every Fri- 
day evening would he make 
liis entire schobl go through 
a tliorough drill in "curt- 
seys, " " bowing, " " leaving 
and entering the room," and 
in "formal introductions one 
to the other," done up, as he 
imagined, in the best Ches- 
terfield (Count D'Orsay was 
not then in vogue) style, 
and, as I know myself, much 
red-headed, bare-footed, and 






Erected about 1825 on a lot presented by pioneer 

James Weir; abandoned as a place of worship 

about 1867; now used as a warehouse 

to the gratification and amusement of his 
ragged disciples. 

I have been a little awkward and stiff in my bowing ever since those pol- 
ishing Fridays of my younger days, and believe in my soul I never will for- 
get the ungraceful, formal bows drubbed into me by this schoolmaster of 
the "ancien regime." 

This same little fellow had also a great, and I might say, superlative idea 
of female loveliness, and conceived it to be not only his duty to polish the 
minds and manners of his scholars, but to add, if possible, new charms to 
their natural beauty. He was in the habit of saying, at each one of these 
drill days, and sometimes even during the week, "that the most lovely and 
attractive feature of the female face was the serene smile." Hence regu- 
larly, on these stated evenings, would he form all the girls of his school in a 
long line, and then go through the exercise of putting on the "serene 
smile." Jupiter and Bacchus, what a sight ! Cruikshank should have seen 
that review! A good sketch would have made his everlasting fortune, and 
caused the death or life of every sour anti-laugher in the Union. 

There we sat — the boys dirty, barefooted, and grinning with delight — 
while first the little, ungainly, cross-eyed (for he had a horrible squint) 
teacher would draw up his mouth to a proper focus, and, with a smirk and 
heavenly roll of the eye, give a sample of the "'smile serene," and then girl 
after girl, along down the line, would follow with grim contortion and grim- 
ace his most beautiful and charming example; and thus we had the "serene 
smile" with all the variations. Some of the larger and more intelligent 
girls, struck with the ridiculousness of this ' ' serene review, ' ' would merely 
smile in derision and contempt ; and to these he invariably gave the badge 
of excellence in this particular branch of his exercises. To this day the 
young ladies of this little village, remembering the "serene exercises" of 
their ancient beautifier, often catch themselves unconsciously going through 


the "serene smile"; and his scholars generally may now be pointed out and 
known by the great serenity of their countenances. Peace be to the old 
pedagogue! If he is still alive, may he die with a "'serene smile" upon his 
lips ; and if he is dead, may his scholars remember the lesson he taught them, 
and "smile serenely" to his memory. 

I remember still another famous teacher, who flourished for many years 
as superior of this academy when we were a wild boy; and his name must 
and shall not go down to the grave unhonoured and unsung, as long as we 
have a goose-quill and ink to dot down his peculiarities. When inflicting 
punishment, he never used the rod, but vented his ire by pulling the nose, 
ears, and hair of the offender. To such length did he carry his nose and ear- 
ology that the trustees of the school were compelled by public opinion, and 
the elephantine growth of the junior villagers' probosces, to call a special 
meeting and pass a law forever forbidding any further elongation of these 
necessary members of the face divine. Once set by the ears, and fully alive 
to the importance of the occasion, the trustees not only put a stop to the 
squeezing of smellers, but forever put an end to "ear-pulling." This 
special statute was all that saved us ; for even as it was, these features had 
got sucli a start, that they are now much larger and longer than there is any 
particular necessity for. But, as the commercial papers would say, after 
this decline of ear and nose punishments, there was a visible and rapid in- 
crease in the demand for hair. 

Our good teacher being deprived, by one stroke of the trustees' pen, of 
his two greatest gratifications, took to wool-gathering in the most serious 
and most extensive manner. There is no telling how many of us would now 
be patronizing the wig-makers (for, as it is, we are generally coolly covered 
about the cranium) had not a young friend and myself hit upon a glorious 
plan of putting a stop, and forever, to this last pleasure of our old master. 

On a certain morning, without any cause or provocation (as you may all 
well know), this hair-plucking teacher of ours, who wore a wig himself, and 
therefore held all hair in utter abomination, took it into his head to give my 
young friend, who was blessed with white locks, and myself, who had just 
the opposite, a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together, and such a 
pull that made our heads tingle, and which we (or at least I can speak for 
myself) have not yet forgotten. Like a second-rate power when insulted by 
a superior, we smothered our ire for the time : but the hour of vengeance 
was at hand, for we had hit upon a plan of operations and only awaited a 
fit season to put it in execution. So, when the school was dismissed for din- 
ner, revenge took the place of hunger, and we spent the entire vacation in 
picking up and gathering together every stray hair we could find in the 
school-room. No lover ever thought more of, or treated with greater respect 
and tenderness, the flowing ringlets of his mistress, than we did each strag- 
gling white, red, or black hair, gathered on that day from the dust and dirt 
of that little room. 

To these, when wearied with searching, we added a bunch pulled from 
the white locks of my friend, by particular request ; and folding them all 
neatly together, making quite a respectable collection, he bore them tri- 
umphantly, as a memento of our teacher's cruelty and barbarity, to his 
father. The old man, although a pleasant and kind-hearted gentleman 
enough, was very apt to use his knotty cane, and that, too, without much 
delay or examination, whenever he was excited by anything mean or out- 
rageous, and we counted upon this trait in his character for vengeance. Our 



teacher, however, by some means unknown to the author, escaped the drub- 
bing he so well deserved, and which we so confidently anticipated, but was 
forever after very chary how he pulled hair. 

The citizens of this little place have lived so long together, having the 
same habits and customs, enjoying the same sunshine and shade, taught by 
the same teachers, and worshipping in the same church, that they all bear a 

faint resemblance to each other, 
and look for all the world like a 
great family of relations. The old 
men never grow any older, and the 
young men remain in ''statu quo": 
only they all have a premature ap- 
pearance of middle age. Smoking, 
until a few years back, was a thing 
unknown, or known only to be uni- 
versally condemned. Railroads, 
steamboats, and telegraphs, and all 
such things, would do to talk about, 
but were believed to be rather sin- 
ful inventions, made for the pur- 
pose of desecrating the Sabbath, 
and therefore not very favourably 
received. The fashions were never 
changed; for these retired people 
cared not a fig for Paris, or the 
latest style. The same old tailors 
who did the cutting and modelling 
when I was a boy still remain, and 
form and fashion the Sunday finery 
of tlie modern dandy. During the 
week, or working days, the clothes of the community were about the same in 
fashion, material, and appearance. The lawyer, divine, merchant, clerk, 
mechanic, and labourer all alike wore shocking bad hats, ragged coats, 
patched pants, and unblacked shoes, and were equally indifferent as to 
dress. They have not yet entirely forgotten their ancient habits, and a lit- 
tle patching and blacking would not be at all injurious or unbecoming. If 
they kill the poor brute for his hide, we think it nothing but fair and right 
and proper that they should keep his skin always in mourning. Humanity 
requires this much at their hands. 

But when Sunday came, it was quite another thing. This was a day for 
ransacking old trunks and bandboxes ; and you wouldn't begin to know your 
acquaintances of the week, without a fresh introduction. The villagers 
mounted their best, and now was the time to tell who was who ; for the 
swinging black, laid away during the week, made its seventh-day appear- 
ance, glittering in the sunshine ; and blankets, casinets, and jeans coats. — 
very respectable on common occasions, — were nowhere in comparison witli 


- Charles Metzker was the last of the German-American pioneers to settle in 
Muhlenberg. He came to Greenville from Virginia in 1836, and for twenty years 
ran a large and well-known blacksmith and wagon shop, in which he made and re- 
paired many of the farming implements and wagons used in the county. He was 
born October 21, 1810, and died in Greenville October 8, 1857. Among his eight 
children was William H. Metzker, who married Susan E. Paxton, a daughter of 
Joseph Paxton. Joseph Paxton died August 15, 1884, at the age of eighty-five. 


the wool-dyed, short-napped, imported broadcloth. This custom of all going 
alike during the week, and in the same careless, ragged manner, was and is 
not done on account of meanness or parsimony ; not at all, — for the citizens 
of Greenville have always been noted for liberality and generosity, — but 
merely because they are all known to each other, very seldom see any 
strangers, and can not understand or conceive any particular use or neces- 
sity in troubling themselves about their apparel. On Sunday it is another 
thing altogether ; for their fathers before them set the custom of shaving 
and dressing up on this particular occasion, and they but follow in their 
footsteps. It is a mark of respect to the sacred day and answers the purpose 
of a kind of almanac to let them know how time is passing. They have 
strange notions of the world in this little town, for they look upon every 
foreigner as an enemy, and watch his movements with a rather suspicious 
and jealous eye. They have heard from their merchants, who travel East 
once a year (and are therefore considered most daring and wonderful voy- 
agers), of robbers, pickpockets, and other such fellows, and have, from the 
horrible accounts given by these travelers, come pretty much to the conclu- 
sion that all the remainder of the world outside of their boundaries are en- 
gaged in one or the other of these laudable occupations, and are to be at any 
rate considered dishonest until they prove themselves the contrary. 

As to whiskers or other hirsute ornaments, they are not only esteemed 
prima facie evidence, but proof positive of rascality and villany of the dark- 
est grade. No such a thing has ever been tolerated, but have always been 
held in the strictest abomination ; and a person visiting this village with one 
of these hairy appendages would run a great risk of being mobbed, or at 
least thrown into prison on suspicion of horse-stealing. One or two men in 
my remembrance have been convicted and sent to the penitentiary on no 
other evidence ; and one fellow, who had only escaped the same fate by a 
hung jury, was at the next term acquitted by acclamation, he having fol- 
lowed his lawyer's advice and freed himself from this suspicious encum- 
brance. The good citizens have always laid it down as an axiom (and with 
some degree of reason) that no honest man would thus attempt to conceal 
his countenance. The lawyers who practice at this court are the most 
barefaced in the circuit ; and those sporting whiskers generally spend the 
better part of the Sunday previous in getting up a clean face — I won't add 
heart, for they are not generally supposed to be troubled with any such 

One poor devil of a half-military attorney was so green, or ignorant of 
the customs of this Rip Van Winkle village, as to make his appearance dur- 
ing term-time ornamented not only with whiskers, but a moustache. He 
only escaped the penitentiary, prison or mob, by a slight mistake as to his 
genus, being taken by most of the citizens for a stray baboon from a travel- 
ling menagerie. As such he was looked upon, admired, wondered at, and 
followed around by the boys and negroes, and last, through humanity for a 
poor dumb brute, allowed to escape. It was only their ignorance, that such 
a thing as a moustache was ever worn, tliat saved the poor fellow. As it 
was, he made a most narrow escape ; and, upon learning the dangers and 
perils through which he had passed, became so alarmed that he fled the 
country immediately, and has never been heard of to this day. 

The amusements of this quiet town were as simple and harmless as might 
be expected with such primitive, unsophisticated people. At the period of 
which I am speaking, the old and middle-aged sat in the shade talking poli- 
tics, or dreaming away their days in listless indolence, only varying their 



monotonous life by going to church regularly on Sunday. The young gen- 
tlemen, being a little more full of life and spirit than their fathers, played 
marbles, and, when tired of this manly amusement, did the same as the old 
men, only they gave tone to their sittings by vigorous whittling on boxes 
and benches, now and then adding variety to their innocent sport by slyly 
gallanting the girls to church, whenever they could catch an opportunity of 
doing so, without being observed by their friends or mammas. Card-play- 
ing, wine-bibbing, balls, horse-racing, dancing, and other such pleasures 
were things unknown, or if known, never happened during my day and 

(Side view) 

generation; for they were all esteemed and considered most heinous and 
wicked contrivances of the devil to destroy men's souls. 

Christmas, the 8th of January, and 22d of February, our three great 
national holidays, were either forgotten — considered no better than their 
other three hundred and sixty-two fellows — or passed by unnoticed, 
merely from indifference or their total repugnance to all noise and confu- 
sion. The glorious Fourth of July — that most celebrated and memorable of 
all our days — would have shared the same silent fate, had it not been for an 
old soldier of the second war. Regularly did this old patriot, from my ear- 
liest recollection (and it was a great and bright epoch in my boyish days), 
rear his liberty pole and cap of freedom on every coming Fourth. On the 
third, let it be sunshine or storm, he would repair to the woods, and there 
felling the loftiest pole he could find, always eschewing hickory, — for he 

3 What was for many years known as the Metzker House, Greenville, was be- 
gun in 1824 by Reverend Ezias Earle. The place was purchased in 1847 by Charles 
Metzker, who erected the two-story addition in front of the original house. Later 
the entire log structure was weatherboarded. It was occupied by the Metzker 
family for many years. This landmark was torn down in 1911, and on the site the 
William A. Wickliffe residence was built. 



was a most inveterate Whig, — he would remove it to the public square, and 
on the morning of the Fourth, bright and early, before the rising of the sun, 
would he bring out his old banner, with its stripes and stars, and proudly 
send it up into the heavens. For three days would he let his eagle, his stars, 
and his stripes flutter gaily in the winds, in honour of the day and to the 
memory of his gallant ancestors ; but on the fourth he would again take 
down his worn and sometimes tattered banner, and folding it up, sacredly 
lay it away, to do the same honour to the coming year. It was a simple and 
touching act of devotion, and well worthy of the old soldier's heart. Our 

Erected in 1911 on the site of the Metzker House 

country's proud flag is dear to all of us, but still more so to him who has 
fought and suffered under its protecting folds. The old man's gray hairs, 
and his glad shout, and his deep emotion when his banner would sweep out 
from the flagstaff, and his old eagle unfold her broad wings and flap them 
joyfully in the wind, will never be forgotten by us. 

The rearing of that cap of liberty and flag was the most memorable event 
of my childhood days. I waited for it, and dreamed of it, and sprang up 
with the coming light to see the first and last of it, and danced and sang 
around it, and shouted with joy as the old man cheered its upward flight. 
May that gallant old soldier and honourer of the Fourth live to unfold his 
star-decked banner through many a coming year ; for, when he dies, then 
will this old flag be forgotten, this proud act of devotion lie buried with his 
throbless heart, and this ancient village, the home of my infancy, be left 
without an honoured day. 

Those were bright days — the days of our early youth, when every pass- 
ing event brought happiness ; when every thought was the genuine outpour- 
ing of unsophisticated nature, and when all our hopes and dreams were of 
a golden hue. They are gone now — and no longer do we wake to cheer the 


old flag in her upward flight; no more will we wander by the little branch, 
and lave our limbs in its bright waters; and never again will we sit in that 
old seminary, or carve the name of our boy-love upon the widespreading 
beech. We wished then for manhood, and prayed then for the time when 
we would mingle with the world. We have got our wish, and would like 
right well if we were a boy again. The world is not what we expected; for 
the glorious garden of our young anticipations has its thorns as well as its 
flowers. Glory has proven a bauble ; and love, patriotism, and friendship 
are too intimately combined with selfishness, hypocrisy, and deceit to afford 
much pleasure. We would gladly exchange our manhood, with all its proud 
privileges and cares, for "the days when we went gipsying a long time 
ago, ' ' through the hills and valleys around that retired little village. We 
had far more heartfelt pleasure in fishing in that little branch and stringing 
our minnows, than we have ever had, or ever will have, in fishing for 
' ' gudgeons or whales ' ' in this great world-sea of ours. 

No wonder the good citizens are wedded to that quiet place, and think no 
home so lovely and enchanting as that forest-embowered home of theirs. 
The neat little church, the silent, sunny dells, the quiet, retired graveyard, 
the old oak covered with the wild vine, the gay, sweet-scented rose, spring- 
ing up over fence and hedge, the tumbling brook, and the still, dreamy 
quietude of the place, give such an air of rural beauty and patriarchal in- 
nocence to that retired and peaceful spot that no one could but love that 
fairy scene. 

Death but seldom left the footprints of his sad tread within the bound- 
aries of that quiet town. He walks abroad in the crowded city and swarm- 
ing thoroughfare, leaving behind him a gloomy path of sorrow, marching to 
the wail of the living and the last sigh of the dead ; but to this retired place 
he but rarely takes his way, only mowing down those who are ripe for the 
sickle, and leaving the young vines green and flourishing, until time shall 
wither their soft young tendrils and fit them for the reaper and the grave. 
Yet that shady little graveyard, where a man would almost be willing to lie 
down and sleep forever, with its short, myrtle-covered mounds and little 
head and foot-stones, tells of fair young flowers, crushed in their first bloom 
of infantile beauty, untimely ^nthered; of prattling tongues hushed 
in their sunny glee ; of earthly treasures swept away ; and that ' ' Thou hast 
all seasons for thine own, Death ! ' ' 

Many a sad tale of heavy affliction is brought again to our memory by 
looking upon those monuments of love in that still and silent resting-place 
of the dead, and many a simple but sorrowful story could be told of those 
who people that village graveyard. For, although sickness and death but 
rarely visited that retired spot, yet long years had brought many to that 
last home. 

That grave, far away by itself, alone and without companionship, un- 
marked by head or foot-stone, desolate and solitary, and almost smooth with 
the common turf, is as vivid now in my imagination as when, shuddering, I 
crept stealthily by it many years ago. It is the last resting-place of the sui- 
cide. His was a sad fate, and one of the strangest and most horrible events 
that ever disturbed the quiet monotony of the village. He came there a 
stranger, upon an errand of love, and no doubt with a heart alive to glad- 
ness and gay with brilliant anticipations of the coming future. His busi- 
ness was to* obtain the necessary papers to consummate his marriage with 
the fair young girl he had wooed and won. He was successful, and when 
upon his return to the home of his intended bride, while yet upon his way, 


little dreaming of evil, he was met by an enemy and cruelly insulted. Re- 
senting the injury, he in his rage threatened further punishment to his foe, 
and that foe, too cowardly to meet him, as a brave man, hand to hand, took 
a coward's revenge by having him arrested and taken before a magistrate. 
He was there, upon the oath of his craven antagonist, bound over to keep 
the peace, and as he was a stranger, and no one appeared to go his security, 
was committed (as the law directs) to prison for the want of bail. The 
same sun that beheld him joyous and light-hearted, leaving the little village 
and hurrying with sparkling eye to the presence of her he loved, beheld him 
again, and ere it had sunk to rest in the distant west, with bondaged arm, 
desponding heart, and gloomy brow, placed within the cheerless walls of the 
village prison. This may be a necessary law, but it often works great in- 
jury and injustice, and we have known it too frequently made the engine of 
a coward's vengeance. It has been said that 

"The wildest ills that darken life 
Are raptures to the bosom-strife ; 
The tempest in its blackest form 
Is beauty to the bosom's storm.'' 

The poor prisoner must have undergone this fierce bosom-strife, or sunk 
in utter despondency under this heavj^ blow, at one stroke crushing all his 
fond hopes and joyous imaginings ; for on the following morning, when vis- 
ited by the jailer, he was found suspended by the neck — dead ! a horrible 
and terrible object, with his purple swollen face and starting eyes! In the 
hour of solitude and madness, he had become the victim of his own hand, 
and died in prison. Instead of embracing his bride, he clasped death to his 
bosom, and now his soul was in eternity, and his disfigured corpse left to 
the wonder of the gaping villagers. 

Well do we remember that ghastly and terrible scene, and the cold, 
chilly sensations that stole through our heart as we looked upon that shud- 
dering sight, and beheld his now useless license, and that plain gold ring 
glittering with pale, unearthly light upon his swollen finger. No one 
thought of moving that ring from his stiff, clammy hand ! It was the last 
fond gift of a doting mother, a gentle sister, or, may be, one even dearer 
than these. But there it was — he prized it when alive, and it rests with him 
now in his dishonoured grave. His body was taken by the jailer and his as- 
sistants and carried to his last long home — that lonely grave ; and there, 
without a friend, without a mourner, without a sigh, a tear, or a prayer, was 
buried the stranger suicide. There, upon the top of the hill, rest the whites ; 
a little farther down, placed below those who were their masters before 
death made them all equal, sleep the blacks; and there, still farther down, 
below them all, without a stone or a monument, without even a head-stone 
or a line to tell his name and fate, slumbers, quiet and still enough, the vic- 
tim of suicide. Solitary and alone, separate and apart, and away from his 
fellows, as if there were not enough solitude in the grave, rests the moulder- 
ing remains of that unfortunate man. "We shunned that humble grave 
■when we were a boy, for there was something startling and terrible to our 
young heart when we thought of his mournful death ; but in after years we 
often stood by that lonely mound, and mused long and sorrowfully over his 
sad, sad fate. 

But our story is not of the past nor of the dead, — and we must leave this 
beautiful and sacred spot, with all its sad memories, and mingle again with 
the living. 


We know, gentle reader, you will pardon this wandering of ours; for 
who can think of his childhood, and the merry days of youth — when all was 
sunshine and song — without paying a passing tribute to the good old days 
of yore, and to the memory of his ancient home. This was indeed a strange 
little town, with its queer old habits and customs, and its simple-hearted, 
contented inhabitants. But, notwithstanding they thought not as the world 
thinks, and had little to do with the novelties, amusements, and fashions of 
the day, yet within that quiet, unpretending village, as novel as it may ap- 
pear, there were men of the highest talent and genius ; and as a general 
thing, the citizens were as intelligent and well educated as in any place, of 
the same population, in Kentucky or the world. Then we must not forget 
the ladies. Unlike the males, who cared so little for dress or fashion, they 
have ever followed the customs of the changing age, if not as strictly as 
some, at least close enough never to be odd, or to attract attention by the 
antiquity of their apparel. Inheriting all the beauty of mother Eve, blessed 
with rare intelligence, gifted with much natural grace, and remarkable for 
their modesty and gentleness of heart, they are well fitted in every respect 
to grace the drawing-rooms of the proudest and loveliest of all our land, and 
cannot be excelled in anything becoming or lovely in the character of a 

Taking all things together, this quiet little village was as pleasant a 
home as could be found in many days' journey, a kind of modern Arcadia, 
with its peaceful calmness, — "a happy valley'' (something like that from 
which Rasselas escaped), where a man could live and dream away life, un- 
ruffled by a single storm. 

But, as we have already remarked, a long time ago, in the commence- 
ment of this chapter, the great, grand Dead Sea calm which had fallen upon 
this waveless and billowless village was now broken and rent asunder. The 
quiet and peace which had rested over that ancient town for so many years 
was now destroyed, and destroyed forever ! Never again will our old home 
be what it once was, when we were a boj'', and when the good old teacher 
went through his "serene review," giving forth his riband of honour to the 
successful "smiler." All the male inhabitants of the village, from the old- 
est to the youngest, were now gathered together in awful wonderment, 
crowding with staring eyes (and for them, frightful commotion) around, 
not the mouth of the raging Vesuvius, or a great opening in the earth, such 
as Curtius closed, — patriotically closed, — but around nothing more nor less 
than an "auger-hole." Yes, gentle reader, it was not another sack of Rome, 
neither was it another rape of the Sabines, but it was a genuine, bona fide 
"auger-hole," and, in the language of Free Tom, "it wasn't nothing else." 
But this unusual and unlooked-for sight (found where it was) was quite 
sufficient to stir up all the latent energies of that hitherto sleeping com- 

Old Rip, once awake, has never again been caught napping, and, from 
the morning of this commotion, there has been a rapid and w^onderful 
change going on in the habits and notions of the people, and in the appear- 
ance of that little village. The lethargy and apathy which had so long borne 
heavily upon them, crushing their motive power, and laying a distinctive 
mark between them and the balance of the world, once broken, never again 
resumed their sway. From that day you may date the first inroad of cigars 
and whiskers. From that hour, old houses have become new — old coats 
have been trimmed, and docked, and remodelled — bell-crown hats have 



given away to sharp tops — round-toed to sqiiare-toed shoes — and the peace 
of that hitherto silent town is now nightly broken by the braying of a 
"brass band" and the puff of a steam-engine, and, what is still more 
strange, all these changes and improvements are mainly ascribable to that 

You must not suppose that these quiet villagers were ignorant of me- 
chanics or mechanical instruments, and had never before seen an "auger- 
hole"; for it was not so, since for many years they had been well acquainted 
wdth the science of "boring." Do not think, for a moment, that we use the 


word "boring" in its fashionable sense, for we have no such intention, and, 
if we did, it would not be true, for the good citizens, among their other 
strange peculiarities, were not in the habit of talking much, but, on the con- 
trary, w^ere rather reserved and much given (if such a thing can be) to 
silence. This particular "auger-hole," which w^as then creating so much 
excitement and which has since been the cause of such wonderful changes, 
was discovered in the window-blind of the Dutchman's store, one of their 
principal stores, a very unusual place, not at all necessary, either for light, 
safety, or beauty. No wonder they were surprised and suspicious ; for that 
little hole, although then harmless, and not large enough for a fairy to slip 
through without greasing, still augured, not only the presence of an auger 
(they could have forgiven that), but of a robber and burglar ! 

Like the footsteps discovered by Crusoe upon the sandy beach of his 
little island, it told of danger, and that they were no longer safe, unless se- 
cured by lock and bar. The good citizens wondered much, studied long, 
looked intently, and shook their heads; pointed at the ominous hole, and 
talked in low whispers ; suspected every man with whiskers that they could 
bring to memory, and yet they hesitated, and were in doubt what to do or 


where to turn for safety. But, while still deep in their mazy cogitations, 
they were suddenly aroused by loud cries of distress, and the little Dutch- 
man, wringing his hands and swearing, burst in upon the amazed crowd, 
crying out that he had been robbed. . . . 

The crowd had now a faint inkling of the cause of his wailing, and, like 
politicians deserting a fallen star, left, without a sigh or backward look, the 
hitherto fearful and wonderful and mysterious ''auger-hole," and rushed 
pellmell to the Dutchman's store. 

And there, sure enough, were all the marks and evidences of the mid- 
night robbery, for the burglars had left broad traces of their recent pres- 
ence. The money-desk had been broken open, and all the poor Dutchman's 
hard-earned spoils, with the exception of a handful of coppers and a few 
German pieces, not considered pure coin (and which the thieves had scorned 
to take), carried away. His goods, too, had not been treated with that gen- 
tleness and care with which a well-trained salesman would have handled 
such articles, but were thrown about in wild confusion over counter and 
floor, and all that were of any great value had been removed, by the very 
choice and select robbers, to some other market. 

While the excited crowd were still gazing with speechless dismay and 
horror upon these unmistakable evidences of a daring robbery, committed 
in their very midst, a countryman rode up, and, being informed of the cause 
of this unprecedented tumult, declared that he had seen, only a few hours 
previous, a band of bearded men, travelling with great rapidity along a cer- 
tain solitary road, and that they had many bundles and packs, so many 
that he had taken them for movers or a company of hunters. 

"You are certain they wore whiskers?" shouted one of the bystanders. 

"Yes," replied the countryman. 

"Then they are the robbers!" exclaimed the same voice. 

"Ay, they are the robbers!" shouted the whole assembly, without a dis- 
senting voice, now that they had certain proof as to the whiskers, — for they 
would have convicted any man on such evidence as that. 

A few moments later, a company of well-armed and well-mounted men, 
led by the countryman as guide, dashed from the village in hot pursuit of 
the daring invaders. Nor was it many hours before they discovered, in a 
lonely wood, Lonz Powers and a band of his desperadoes, for they were the 
robbers and burglars who had thus rudely disturbed the security of that un- 
guarded town. The villagers were bold men, excited with the hope of mak- 
ing a terrible example of those daring villains who had so rashly destroyed 
the peace of their quiet realm, and did not hesitate how to act when once in 
view of their retreating foe. So soon as within shooting distance, they 
poured in a volley from pistol, shotgun, and rifle, and with a loud shout 
charged gallantly upon the enemy. The robbers were well mounted, for 
they had the pick of the country in their horses, and, not choosing to meet 
their enraged pursuers, dropped their spoils, dashing off helter-skelter 
through the woods, every man for himself, as fast as their steeds, urged by 
whip, and spur, and voice, could carry them. With but one exception, they 
all escaped ; and he, his horse being disabled by the first fire, fell into the 
hands of the villagers, and was afterwards induced by some very striking 
reasons given him (by the Regulators, into whose tender hands he was in a 
few days committed), to make very valuable discoveries, which eventually 
put an end to the career of Lonz Powers and his companions. 

Proudly the exulting conquerors returned to the village, loaded with the 
recovered goods of the Dutcliman, and bearing in their midst, bound hand 



and foot, a fierce, dark-visaged, black-wliiskered bandit. The prisoner was 
a sullen, devilish-looking cut-throat as one would care about meeting; 
returning stare for stare with the gaping villagers, and refusing to answer 
any questions, or doing so only in a dogged, sullen tone, defying them to do 
their worst, and threatening every imaginable vengeance. 

Many a rusty, long-disused fowling-piece or pistol was dragged from its 
hiding-place on that memorable night. Many a door, that never knew a 
lock before, was made intimately acquainted with that civilized guard ; and 
many an anxious citizen had a weary, broken sleep of it, dreaming of huge 

Looking north from opposite the main entrance of the Courthouse 

whiskers as big as the court-house cupola, flourishing away upon the faces 
of terrible and hideous robbers; starting at every slam of a crazy window- 
shutter, and imagining the gnawing of the hungry rat the file of the des- 
perate burglar. It was a dreadful, uneasy night to the nervous villagers — 
that first night after the robbery — and it will not be soon forgotten, for, 
since that time, they date all events from that memorable epoch ; and it has 
become just as much a habit with them to say, "from the year of the great 
robbery," as it used to be, "from the year of the shakes." 

Alas ! sweet little village ! thy quiet and spirit-like stillness so dreamy 
and fairy-like, is now gone ; and, I fear me much, gone never to return. Thy 
citizens have tasted excitement, and for one entire day the usual places of 
resort have been deserted, and the ordinary amusements swallowed up in 
wild astonishment, first, at the "auger-hole," then, at the actual scene of 
robbery, and, last of all, in gazing upon the fierce whiskers of an actual live 

From that ever-to-be-remembered day — that day of horror and tumult — 
the good citizens have never been able to fall back into tlieir old habits and 
customs and peculiarities. Tt is true, the young men still play marbles, and 
the old men still talk politics and go regularly to church ; but then they have 
other sources of pleasure, and take delight in far different amusements 
from what they did in our day. 


The march of improvement, an impetus having been given by this rob- 
bery, is now onward. New merchants, new tailors, new lawyers, and new 
divines are now moving in, and the old settlers, forced by necessity, are 
compelled either to change their musty habits or be driven by public opin- 
ion, in disgrace, from their ancient hunting-grounds. The bell at the old 
tavern, with its famous and well-known landlady, still sticks out for the an- 
cient customs, ringing as it did of yore the summons to meals, at daylight, 
eleven, and four o 'clock ; but many of the citizens, smitten with the lazy 
fashions of modern improvers, disregarding its shrill call, sleep long after 
that little bell has pealed out its alarum ; and many of them have even gone 
so far as to dine at twelve and sup at dark, and sit up as late as nine, al- 
though the majority, I am happy to say, still fall to sleep at the good old 
hour of seven. 

As for the public, or high-days and holidays, the good people of Green- 
ville, wishing, no doubt, to make up for past neglect, now celebrate not only 
Christmas, the 8th of January, 22d of February, and 4th of July, but throw 
in some three or more for good count, upon which day-offering they have 
braying from the brass band and puffing from temperance orators. Had the 
robbers never bored that *' auger-hole," or robbed the Dutchman, they 
might have continued their thriving to this day ; and that little village 
would have remained enjoying its ancient nap, and never awakened to the 
fuss, turmoil, and improvements of this changing age. They might have 
robbed almost any other town, and the robbery would have created no dis- 
turbance ; but unfortunately, in an evil hour for them, they fell upon this 
quiet, out-of-the-way place, where the mere boring of an auger-hole shook 
the entire community to its very foundations, and led, not only to their 
future overthrow and ruin, but to the happiness (that is, in the estimation 
of the age), prosperity, and final greatness and glory of this hitherto slum- 
bering, but now thoroughly awakened village. 

Alas ! my ancient home, you have changed, but I will not say for the 
better. I remember only thy quiet old days, when the hum of the singing 
insect, and the buzz of the floating bee, was the only and loudest music 
heard within thy silent borders. T will not think of thee as thou art now. 
noisy wdth the clattering hammer and shaken by the hoarse belching of 
steam, but wdll continue my slumber, forever dreaming that thou art now 
what thou used to be, my own, still, quiet, peaceful home ! 


UP to the year 1850 every man in Kentucky considered himself a sol- 
dier, and was so considered in the eyes of the law. Until 
the Third Constitution was adopted, every male citizen from the 
age of twenty to forty-five, with a few exceptions, was on the en- 
rolled militia and reported at a mustering place on specified dates and there 
took part in military drills. Such was the law old Virginia inherited from 
England, and it was also the law when Kentucky became a State, and, as 
before stated, remained a law until 1850. To-day every able-bodied man 
from eighteen to forty-five years of age is enrolled as a soldier of the United 
States under compulsion to respond if called upon in time of war. If he 
does not belong to the regular army or navy, or is not a member of the na- 
tional guard, he then belongs to the reserve militia. 

Previous to about the year 1820 the militia muster was a gathering of 
citizen-soldiers who met for the purpose of drilling, and all devoted their 
time while on the muster grounds to military exercises conducted according 
to military tactics. However, about five years after the second war with 
England, interest in the military features of these gatherings began to de- 
cline, and during the second quarter of the century all of the musters were 
more or less a farce. 

The law required all able-bodied men, with a few exceptions, to report 
for duty at the musters, and imposed a fine for non-attendance. The com- 
pany musters usually took place in April, June, August, and September; 
the battalion usually in May, and the regimental in October. In the early 
days a company consisted of from fifty to one hundred men, including of- 
ficers; two to four companies constituted a battalion, and two to four bat- 
talions formed a regiment. The number of men in these various organiza- 
tions was governed principally by the extent of the population in the 

Among the many places in the county on which companies met to drill 
were : The courthouse yard, the Russell Old Field, the Andy Craig place, 
Kincheloe's Bluff, Morehead's Field (now Central City), the George Clark 
place, Thomas Sumner's farm, the Solomon Rhoads farm, the Hunt Old 
Field, William Bell 's, the Vanlandingham Old Place, the Jim Taggart 
farm, Wyatt Wells', the Mosley Collins Drake farm, Old Liberty, Mike Lov- 
ell's. Old Millport, and the Gish Old Field. Up to about 1820 most of the 
battalion and regimental drills took place in Greenville. After that time the 
place of rendezvous for the men in the southern part of the county was 
changed to the Russell Old Field, southeast of Greenville, near what is now 
Pleasant Hill Church. In the meantime regimental musters also took place 



on the Gish Old Field, south Of Bremen, and other fields in the northern 
par of the county. These two regiments, it is said, on several oecas on" 
drilled together on the Russell Old Field. occasions 

(■/' tuz ^vrJ o:ic 

Eeduced facsimile of commission showing appointment of William Bradford as Captain 
of Militia, August 2, 1799 

in aI'h ^k^^' ^°^'^i^^>^"^^r.y da+a bearing on the early history of the militia 

Z !!1SV-''^Z^^ "' ^^'' '^"^^^- ^^ «'^ commission, still preserved 
captain. Others may have been appointed at the same time, but none pre- 


ceded him. He probably later filled other positions in the militia. A photo- 
graph of the Bradford commission is here reproduced. On the back of the 
original is written: "Muhlenberg County, Set. This day came William 
Bradford before me, a justice of the peace for said county, and made oath 
as Captain of the IMilitia company. Given under mv hand this 20th day of 
February, 1800. Wm. Bell." 

From a few of the other commissions still preserved I gather the follow- 
ing facts: Charles Fox Wing was "appointed Lieutenant in the Twenty- 
fourth regiment of Militia, on August 2, 1799"; Alney McLean was ap- 
pointed Ensign in the same regiment on the same date ; Lewis Kincheloe on 
September 30, 1800, was "appointed Lieutenant-Colonel commandant of 
the Fortieth regiment of Militia to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resig- 
nation of William Campbell, Esquire." William Bell, on February 9, 
1801, was "commissioned Paymaster, with the rank of Lieutenant in the 
Fortieth regiment." Lewis Reno, on May 24, 1802, was "commissioned 
Ensign in the Fortieth regiment." Thomas Randolph, on March 22, 1803, 
was "commissioned Captain in the Fortieth regiment." 

A certificate of exemption, written on letter paper, reads: "Kentucky. 
At a court-martial held for the Fortieth Regiment of Militia in the County 
of Muhlenberg on the 24th day of May, 1802 : Ordered, that George Love- 
lace be and he is hereby exempt from military duty in future for and on 
account of his having his arm broke. A Copy Test. Charles Fox Wing, 
Judge Advocate." 

An official notice, written on a small piece of paper and addressed to 
Captain Samuel Weir, reads : 

Battalion Order, March 12, 1811. 
Sir: You will have your Company parade at Solomon Rhoads's on the 
17th day of May next by ten o'clock in order to hold a Battalion Muster. 
You will also have your Company parade in like manner at William Bell's 
on the second day of October next in order to hold a Regimental 
Muster. The Drill Muster will be held on the last Wednesday and Thurs- 
day in September next at William Bell's. The Court of Assessment of fines 
will be held also at William Bell 's on the last Monday in November, 

Thomas Bell, Majr. Comdt. 

1st Battalion of the 32nd Regt. K. M. 

As already stated, from about the year 1825 until the law obliging all 
men to drill M'as abolished, the musters were more or less a farce. The 
laws regulating the militia of the Commonwealth were amended and 
changed so often that, as a consequence, they became more complicated than 
the maneuvers were unmilitary. Humphrey Marshall, in 1824 ("History of 
Kentucky," Vol. 2, page 14), wrote: "Tt is in vain to suggest that neither 
officer nor soldier will ever trouble himself to know the law, when it may, 
and probably will, be changed before he has an opportunity of reducing his 
knowledge to practice." Musters became gatherings in which everybody 
participated, regardless of age or social position. The men who attended 
were not so much prompted by a desire to drill, and thus live up to that 
article of the Constitution, as they were to take advantage of the chance to 


mingle with the crowd of men, women, and children, renew old friendships, 
make new ones, hear the news, see the races, trade horses, partake of a good 
dinner, and incidentally have a good time at "the big to-do." 

The military features of these affairs grew insignificant as compared 
with those of their social, political, and business nature. The ordinary pic- 
nic basket was too small for these gatherings. Trunks and boxes packed 
with fried chicken, boiled ham, roasted pork, pies and other edibles, with 
coffee-pots and whisky -jugs, M'ere brought to the place of rendezvous in 
wagons, and everybody was welcome to their contents. Gunsmiths were in 
abundance. Since the greater number of people came in wagons or on 
horseback, there was necessarily a large aggregation of horses, from colts 
and two-year-olds down to worn-out plow-horses, and from carefully 
groomed quarter-nags to neglected horses whose tails and manes were filled 
with burrs. This led to the appearance of blacksmiths, who repaired 
wagons and shod horses. It also resulted in much "horse swapping,'" 
which in turn gave occasion for betting and horse-racing. The combination 
led to drinking, and drinking frequently brought on "fist and skall fights" 
and other disturbances. 

In those days, as in the earlier days, every man furnished his own gun — 
muzzle-loaders of any sort, flintlock rifles, muskets, shotguns, or horse-pis- 
tols. Those who had no firearms to bring, or who had forgotten them, 
would enter the drills with a trimmed sapling or a cornstalk — consequently 
the name, the Cornstalk Militia. 

When the captain was ready to order his company into ranks he usually 
mounted a convenient stump, rail fence, or empty barrel and called out: 
"Oh, yes! Oh, yes! Oh, yes! All you who belong to Captain So-and-so's 
company (giving his name) fall into ranks and parade!" The "Oh, yes," 
it might be well to add, is derived from the old French "oyez" — "hear 
ye." Hence the Court of Oyer and Terminer — to hear and to finish. If 
the captain's first order failed to move his men he would again appeal to 
them — "Everybody in my company, off the fence there and fall into line! 
Now come on, men, come on, everybody, and let's get started with our 
rei^olutions ! ' ' After all, or nearly all, of his company had responded to 
his call, he ordered " 'Tention, the whole!" after which most men gave him 
more or less attention. Right or left dress was usually lengthened into the 
command to "Look to the left and dress!" or right, as the case might be. 
' ' Stop ! " or " Hold ! ' ' was the command for halt. It is also said that al- 
though keeping step was a matter of indifference or beyond the control of 
some of the privates, they were nevertheless permitted to remain in ranks 
and follow as best they could or would through the drills. 

Company, battalion, and regimental drills were conducted on the Rus- 
sell Old Field from May to October, making a total of at least six different 
musters on that tract every year. It became a great gathering-place, espe- 
cially when a Big Muster (a battalion or regimental drill) was scheduled. 
Horse-races on such occasions were then by far the most prominent feature 
on the program, and they soon became more frauds than the drills were 
farces. In fact, the Russell Old Field is even to-day more frequently re- 
ferred to as the Old Russell Race Track than the Old Russell Muster Field, 



although no races have taken place there since the days of the militia 

The Russell Race Track and muster grounds, like every other historic 
place in the county, is the subject of many absurd tales. One of these per- 
tains to the threshing of wheat. In the early times one of the methods the 
farmer employed to get his wheat out of the chaff was to "tramp" it out. 
He located a stretch of ground that would pack solid. On this he built a 
ring fifty to one hundred feet in diameter. After scattering his wheat on 

Standing near a number of fields used as drilling-grounds 

the inner edge of this circle he walked his horse over it and thus trod out 
the grain. On some farms this was done on the wooden floor of the barn. 
At any rate, the story is told that after the Russell Race Track was finished 
a certain farmer brought his wheat, stock and all, to the track on a race day 
and scattered it over the course, and that while running the races the 
horses trod all the grain out of the chaff, thus relieving the raiser of that 
wheat of any further work except to "rake up the golden grain." 

All the traditions regarding this old Muster Field teem with romance 
and comedy except one — the killing of Isom Sheffield by Bob Jenkins. This 
tragedy took place in the fall of 1842 and during the time the Regulators 
were hunting down the outlaws. It is said Jenkins was in sympathy with 
the Regulators and that Sheffield disapproved of some of their work. These 
two men had argued this question on several occasions, and their disagree- 
ment soon developed into enmity. Both came to the Big Muster. Jenkins 
was sitting on a log when Sheffield, who was approaching from the rear, 
either bv accident or intention hit Jenkins with a sumac stick. A few short 


words had passed between them an hour before, and now the provoca- 
tion for a fight presented itself. After a short but fierce struggle Sheffield 
ran away from Jenkins, some say because he feared the many friends of 
Jenkins who had gathered around, while others declare he ran to get a weap- 
on concealed in his wagon. Jenkins, highly infuriated, followed him with 
an open knife in his hand. When Jenkins had gotten within a few feet of 
his antagonist and was ready to make a stab, Sheffield tripped on a root and 
fell. Jenkins immediately thrust his knife into Sheffield's back, killing 
him instantly. Jenkins surrendered to the authorities, gave bond, and the 
following year was acquitted on the plea of self-defense, but some years 
later was shot from ambush. 

After this fatal event the preachers and church people began a cam- 
paign against the meetings on the Russell Muster Field. For a year or two 
the races were discontinued, but soon large and reckless crowds gathered 
again and things went from bad to worse until 1850, when the militia mus- 
ters were discontinued throughout the State. ^ 

James "Weir, in his boyhood days, saw the decline of the old militia mus- 
ter, and in 1850, shortly after he wrote ^'Lonz Powers," saw its final fall. 
He frequently attended the drills on the Russell Race Track. Observations 
made there and at Old White Plains in Christian County suggested, it is 
said, much of what appears in his chapter on the old military muster. His- 
torians generall}^ either refer simply to the old-time military musters, or in 
the course of a few words vaguely suggest what they were. The following 
satirical description, taken from "Lonz Powers," is probably the only thing 
of its kind ever written, and deserves to rank among Kentucky classics : 

Every nation has a memorable day — a day of songs and rejoicings. 
With us the fourth of July, twenty-second of February, and Christmas, are 
all holidays, or days of joy and pleasure. But of all the grand days in this 
martial old Commonwealth of ours, those set apart for militia training are 
(at least in the estimation of militia captains) the grandest and most excit- 
ing. If you should happen within ten miles of a militia muster on one of 
these eventful days, every step you took, and every object that met your 
gaze, would remind you of war, with its glorious and thrilling panoply, its 
noise and wild tumult. Boys, negroes, and men, on foot and on horseback, 
in cart, wagon, and carriage, single, double, and treble, are crowding from 
every direction and hurrying with anxious speed toward the scene 
where mimic battles are to be fought and won. Old shotguns, rusty 
rifles, long-untried fowling-pieces, cornstalks, and hickory sticks are in great 
demand, while the Sunday fineries, drawn from their secret hidiug-places, 
adorn the martial forms of their proud-treading owners. Cider-wagons, 
ginger-cakes, apples, whisk}', and all the other et eeteras of the camp, are 
rushing pellmell into the place of rendezvous. Arriving at the parade field, 

1 The Russell tract was first settled by John C. Russell, M'ho moved on it about 
the year 1805 and remained there until 1820. After he moved to Todd County his 
level fields and abandoned houses were used for mustering purposes for many 
years. John C. Russell represented the county in the Legislature from 1807 to 
1809. He was a liberal and kind-hearted man. His farm, in its day, was one of 
the best equipped in the county. No traces of his large log residence can now be 
seen. Even the ruins of the old stone milk-house have almost disappeared. 



your ears are greeted with every imaginable noise — the squealing of pigs, 
neighing of chargers, barking of dogs, braying of asses, laughing of happy 
negroes, and hoarse commands of military chieftains being mingled to- 
gether in the most harmonious concord of discord. Jingling spurs, rusty 
sabers, black cockades, and the fierce little red plume, everywhere meet your 
vrandering eye and fill up the interstices of this moving, animated scene. 

Such an exhibition of warlike enthusiasm might have been seen, if you 
had only been present, dear reader, at Pleasant Grove, on the morning after 


Standing on the Russellville Road near Hazel Creek Church. Built about 

1810, abandoned 1900. Many militia musters were held here 

the night described in our last chapter. Noise and wild confusion were the 
order of the day. The thrilling fife and a cracked drum were pealing forth 
their stirring notes, and calling loudly upon the brave sons of old Kentucky 
to shoulder their arms and sustain the glory of their ancestors. Generals, 
colonels, majors, captains (we have no lack of titled gentry in Kentucky), 
and privates were mingled together in a confused mass, talking, laughing, 
shouting, swearing, drinking, and every now and then taking a pleasant 
knock-down, merely to vary the bill of entertainment, keep up the excite- 
ment, and cultivate a proper military ardour. Candidates were there, too 
(like all other aspirants for office), shaking hands, treating, speaking, and 
making known to the warlike assembly the past, present, and future (they 
were no prophets, merely reasoning from cause to effect) glory and renown 
of Kentucky and her gallant sons. Horse-racing, cock-fighting, rifle-shoot- 
ing, wrestling, and boxing, upon this occasion, all had their votaries, and all 
were busily engaged in their respective amusements. Babel, in her palm- 


lest day, was a mere "tempest in a teapot" compared with a militia muster 
in the backwoods of Kentucky. The Carnival at Rome or the ancient 
Saturnalia of the Romans, in the very height of their revelling, would be 
tame and insipid when placed in juxtaposition with such an occasion. We 
know of nothing that can be compared, for noise and wild confusion, with 
a regiment of boisterous, merry, reckless militia, along with their chivalrous 
leaders, adorned with flowing red sash, bullet-button coats, tin-foil epaulets, 
and stiff, ragged, red plumes, just preceding or succeeding "the training." 

But suddenly a great change comes over the moving, tossing mass gath- 
ered on the battlefield at Pleasant Grove. Some order (a devilish little, by- 
the-by, if it can be called order at all) takes the place of the late disorder, 
and a comparative calm — in a figurative sense — settles down upon this rag- 
ing storm. The commanding officer of the day, stripping his saddle of its 
red girth, belts on his trusty, trenchant blade, dons his swallow-tailed blue, 
adorned with bullet-buttons and red tape, borrows the best charger he can 
find, scrambles on his back with the assistance of a stump or a kind hand, 
and, when once safely moored, waves his plumed beaver around his warlike 
head, and shouts his orders to parade. Now comes a busy, stirring, w^ild, 
and moving panorama. Men, before ignoble and unknown from the com- 
mon herd, draw from their bosoms, pockets, and hats the red plume and 
sash (that is, if they are so lucky as to have any), and soon become the 
leaders and chieftains of the day. A fierce struggle now commences who 
shall get their companies first formed into a line, or who shall first gain a 
preemption right to the shade of a tree, under which to marshal and form. 
Although each company has, or rather has had at some former time, a cap- 
tain and inferior officers (for they often assemble on parade-ground with- 
out any), in reality every man in the corps, being fully competent to com- 
)nand, takes the responsibility of giving orders. 

It may be thought an easy matter by the inexperienced to form a com- 
pany of men into a straight line; but if it is so, our militia captains have 
never discovered that fact. They commence at one end of the winding line, 
and with threats, entreaties, and much trouble get a tolerably fair and 
straight row, especially if there be any corn-ridges in the immediate neigh- 
borhood, but, unfortunately, before they reach the other extreme, their sol- 
diers having a predisposition for Mahometanism, are generally in a crescent, 
and then they are compelled to begin afresh. And thus we have seen them 
go on for hours and hours, and at last end their labours, not being in much 
better array or condition than at the beginning of their arduous and impos- 
sible undertaking. Tall, low, long, short, thin, and fat, old and young, men 
and boys, clothed with fur and wool hats, caps, and no hats at all ; cloth 
coats and jeans, calico and linsey, and no coats at all; boots, shoes, and moc- 
casins, and no shoes at all; new and old pants, white, black, and striped, and 
no pants at all; shirts ruffled and unruffled, white, black, green, and gray, 
cotton, linen, and calico, and no shirts at all — are all mingled together in the 
most beautiful and checkered confusion, giving a motley and ludicrous ap- 
pearance to the ununiformed, straggling, and crooked corps. 

The officers are generally the most silly and ignorant men of the commu- 
nity, for none but such will seek a command in so farcical a concern as a 
militia company ; and most frequently elected, as the saying is, unan- 
imously, for they are considered most "unanimous fools," and no one will 
vote either for or against them. As for a knowledge of military tactics, 
they never dream of any such a thing. They are unable (with a few excep- 
tions, of course) to form even a straight line, unless they have the assistance 



of a ditch or a corn-row, and as for giving any other orders save "About 
face!" (to which they add ''right!") "March!" it is a thing not only un- 
known but unheard of. Those who can read are accustomed to carry 
"Scott's Tactics" in their pockets, from which they read out the different 
commands or manoeuvres, but as for knowing what is then to be done, after 
spelling through the various movements, they don't think of such a thing, 
foi it is none of their business. They are placed there to give the orders, 
and it is the duty of the company to obey ; and if they fail to do so, then it 

Built in 1816, abandoned in 1912. Many company drills took place in a field near by 

is their own fault, for their skilful captains have read out all the necessary 
instructions as plain as Scott himself could give them. 

We know of but one real, genuine, whole-souled, praiseworthy militia 
captain, and he has now left the country and moved to Arkansas. He was 
a glorious, jolly fellow, that old captain of ours, and if ever a military 
leader deserved a monument of brass, he was that one; and we will give a 
ten at any time we are called on towards bestowing that honour to his mem- 
ory. He was, during his soldiering life, the most popular chieftain of the 
age — always excepting Old Hickory and his sons, the young Hickories — 
and we will venture to say his company was the most numerous and well- 
attended of the regiment, so long as he was permitted to drill under his own 
laws and in his own spirited way. 

His mode of operating (and we make it known for the benefit of martial 
spirits) was to form his corps as near into a straight line as possible; but he 
only attempted this difficult manoeuvre once a day, and that very early in 
the morning, for after that, not even with the assistance of a fence or ditch 


could he keep tliem either perpendicular or rectilinear. Then marching at 
the head of his brave companions, he opened with a vigorous pursuit of the 
enemy, and at a suitable and convenient spot, made known to him by his 
spy (for he always threw out an advance guard), he generally discovered 
the foe, disguised and changed by the fairies into a half dozen blue or red 
(most frequently red) pails, and well filled with mint julep, a ladle in each 
(a trick of the enemy to induce a charge) and commanded by that old 
bruiser and man-overthrower John Barleycorn, always ready and willing 
(like Wellington at Waterloo) to be attacked. Tliere is no shrinking or 
giving back in John, and, like Old Zack, the word retreat is unknown in his 
tactics, let the enemy be ever so fierce and numerous. 

Our gallant captain was one of the same sort, a real Murat for daring 
charges; and, forming his men into platoons of six — for he scorned to take 
advantage of his superior number — led them manfully to the contest, full 
upon tlie battery of the foe, although ready to pour out destraetion upon 
himself and followers. "]\Iake ready!" was his hoarse command, and down 
went the dippers; "Take aim!" and up they came on a level witli the 
mouth; "Fire!" and away goes the liquid stream, not of fire, but of fire- 
water, down the thirsty throats of his soldiers. "Next platoon, march!" 
(there w^as no pricking of bayonets to urge them on) ; "Make ready, take 
aim, fire ! ' ' and thus each individual of the band had an opportunity to dis- 
play his nerve and steadiness under a point-blank shot from the stubborn 
foe. Nor was our noble captain content with battling this little squad of the 
enemy, for, like a true hero tliat he was, lie allowed the foe to send after 
fresh ammunition, and bring up the reserve, squad after squad, and still 
continue the fight, showing no quarter and asking none, until he alone of all 
that gallant corps is left standing to face the "red coats." "I see them on 
their winding way," was the favourite air of this fighting band of heroes, 
and many a battle have they fought with the "Britishers," as the red pails 
were called, when spirited on by this good old tune. 

The followers of the captain, unlike other militia, were far more steady 
when going into the fray than when coming out. We remember you well, 
most jovial son of JMars, and wherever you may now be, and whatever may 
be your fate, we will never cease to give you honor, although you were a 
militia captain. We have fought and have been defeated under your ban- 
ner, but never disgraced, for, like conquerors, we always slept upon the field 
of battle and close around the battery of tlie enemy. 

The martial farce is now over ; the red plumes have vanished, the bullet- 
buttons are numbered among the things "that were," and bright sabers no 
longer glitter in the sunbeams. They who but a moment since lorded it 
over their fellow-men, dubbed as generals, colonels, majors, and captains. 
and as grandly and gloriously as Napoleon and his marshals, or the Grand 
Turk and his pachas, are now but common citizens, without command, and 
no longer in authority; and (what is still worse for them) liable at any mo- 
ment to be soundly thrashed by any of the sovereigns they may have been 
so unfortunate as to insult during the drill ! — a privilege not unfrequcntly 
enforced, very much to the discomfort of the gallant commanders. 

The soul-inspiring drum and fife have ceased, and the old forest no 
longer echoes back the martial roll. Boys, negroes and stragglers, wanting 
the excitement of military music, and glutted with warlike pageantry, arc 
now making hasty preparations for departure. Cider-barrels and cake-bas- 
kets are empty ; and their happy owners and venders, shaking their swell- 
ing purses, go on their way rejoicing. All are now gone, or preparing to 


leave, save those brave spirits who intend to sleep upon the field and upon 
their arms, for the very simple reason that they have fallen victims to Bac- 
chus and are unable to leave. 

And such is a militia muster — a great, grand, sometimes laughable but 
always silly farce, and not only tolerated, but legalized and even com- 
manded by our laws. Yet do we suffer, and, like good citizens, obey — three 
times annually leaving our labour and business to undergo this most absurd 
of all absurdities, a "militia training." 


THE ruins of the old Buckntr Furnace, known as "The Stack," form 
one of the most desolate, yet interesting landmarks in the 
county. As far as I am aware, nothing, save one paragraph in the 
First Kentucky Geological Survey, has ever been written on the 
history of this once flourishing place. The deed books in the county clerk's 
office record the dates of land transfers, but reveal none of the romances 
and tragedies that make up the Story of The Stack. Members of the 
younger generation — many, at least, of those with whom I have come in 
contact— simply know the remains of the Buckner Furnace as "The 
Stack," the "Old Furnace," or the "Pennsylvania Furnace," and that 
General Simon Bolivar Buckner had been in some way connected with the 
old iron works. Collins in his 1847 edition refers to it as the "Henry Clay 
Iron Works." So the old people were the only ones from whom I could 
gather any information, and they frequently disagreed on very important 
points. The Stack, I find, was erected in 1837 and was operated only a few 
years. The few men and women now living who saw the place when it was 
running were all too young to remember their visits ; some of them, never- 
theless, are well versed in the traditions of the old Furnace. 

One young man, who might have learned something of the history of 
The Stack from his grandparents, unaware of his ignorance regarding local 
and national history, "informed" me that The Stack was built by General 
Buckner during the Mexican War, and a few years later, when the Amer- 
ican Revolution broke out. General Buckner furnished Washington and An- 
drew Jackson with guns and swords with which to whip the French and 
British ; that if G eneral Buckner had not been prepared to supply the iron 
from The Stack for the making of American cannon, and if saltpeter had 
not been discovered in Mammoth Cave about this time, England would 
have won the fight and helped Jeff Davis defeat the North ! All of which, 
if not history, is at least interesting. 

The land on which The Stack stands was for a long time owned by a 
company of capitalists, and is therefore frequently referred to as " the Com- 
pany land. ' ' However, the same young man insists that this title originated 
from the fact that many of the people living on this tract of land in olden 
times had "a heap of company." 

Another rural philologist, pointing out a piece of pig iron made at The 
Stack three quarters of a century ago, "informed" me that his grandfather 
said that this pig iron is so called because on "hog-killing" days General 
Buckner heated these chunks of iron and then threw them into barrels of 



water in order to bring the water to a temperature sufficient to scald the 
skin of the hogs, preparatory to scraping off the hair. This process of heat- 
ing water for cleaning hogs is as old as the hills, the only difference being 
that ordinary rocks are almost invariably used instead of pig iron. 


It seems that about the year 1833 one AVilliam Miller, of Massachusetts, 
claimed to have received a revelation (written on some hen eggs he found in 
a hollow stump) to the effect that the destruction of the world would take 
place in 1843. He preached this doctrine throughout the United States, 


and had a few followers in Muhlenberg County. When, in 1842, the Fur- 
nace was abandoned, Miller's converts declared Buckner closed down his 
iron works because he did not want to be running a hot furnace on Judg- 
ment Day. Those who did not know why operations were discontinued im- 
mediately drew the conclusion that Buckner had become a Millerite. The 
absurd story thus started is still heard in a few of the local traditions. 

Such confusion of the details of national history of which there is a writ- 
ten record, and the telling of such ridiculous tales as these I have just cited, 
are to be expected, and they serve to show that many statements regarding 
old places, like many reports regarding current events, are not only false 
but often absurd, and that "investigation brings out the truth." 

At any rate, the discovery of the extensive deposits of surface iron ore in 
southern Muhlenljerg County prompted Aylette H. Buckner (the father of 
General Buckner) and Cadwalader Churchill to organize a company for 
the purpose of working this ore. In 1837 they erected a furnace near the 
junction of Pond Creek and Salt Lick Creek, five miles south of Green- 
ville, and before the close of the following year the iron works were put in 
operation. The Stack was built at the foot of a hill, and a level gangway 
was placed from the top of the hill to the top of the furnace, where there 
was a charging platform over the opening through which the ore was fed. 
Tlie Stack was a double wall of local sandstone, hooped with six iron bands, 
the whole forming one massive tower about eighty feet high, forty feet wide 
at the base, and twenty-five feet across at the top.i 

Alfred Johnson, Garland Craig, and Thomas Welborn, Muhlenberg's 
best stone-masons, with the help of others, did the stone work. They must 
have been masters of their craft, for in spite of the fact that some of the 
iron bands were removed about the year 1875 and that twenty years later 
two vandals dynamited it for the purpose of taking the heavy iron bars 
used to support the four arches, the walls stood for seventy years. It was 
the irreparable damage done by the t\^x) old-iron gatherers that, on January 
14, 1907, caused the final collapse of the old landmark, which is now noth- 
ing more than a heap of dressed rock. 

The Stack and its wooden gangway were by no means the only struc- 
tures erected by Buckner and Churchill. They also put up a substantial 
two-story log house of ten rooms, used as a residence, office, and store by the 
Buckners. It is said that three yoke of oxen were required to transfer 
Buckner 's private library from Hart County to this place. The Buckner 
house was the largest structure of its kind in the county. It was about one 
hundred and fifty feet long, constructed of hewed logs, had good glass win- 
dows, and floors of sawed lumber. There were three large chimneys and a 
dozen open fire-places. The building contained a spacious dining room, 
used by some of the white employes. In an adjoining room, known as "the 

1 The first iron furnace in Kentucky was the Bourbon Furnace, built in Bath 
County in 1791. Iron ore was not discovered in Western Kentucky until about a 
quarter of a century later. A few years previous to 1837 iron ore had been found 
in Trigg, Lyon, Hart, and Livingston counties and near Mud River, and was being 
worked at a number of furnaces when Buckner and Churchill began The Stack. 
It was at Eddyville, Lyon County, that William Kelly, in 1851, discovered the so- 
called Bessemer process, which entirely revolutionized the steel industry. 


store," goods were kept for the convenience of the people connected with 
the Furnaee and for the purpose of exchanging merchandise with farmers 
for produce. Opposite the south end of the log house, and built in the hill- 
side, was the stone milk-house, through which there constantly ran a stream 
of spring water. 

Not far from The Stack stood a grist mill, to which corn was brought by 
the farmers, who gave one sixth of their meal for the grinding. This mill, 
used later as a tobacco barn by Ben Mitchell and others, was burned to the 

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ground about 1870, with a large crop of Yellow Pryor in it. ]\Iany of the 
white miners and wood-choppers and the forty slaves occupied log cabins 
north of The Stack, but all traces of their quarters have now disappeared. 
In fact the large pile of rock that now marks the site of the Furnace, a 
few pieces of slag, the ruins of the milk-house, two half-buried corn burrs, 
two half-filled wells, and a few small mounds where chimneys once stood — 
all more or less hidden in a jungle of bushes or second-growth timber — are 
the only evidences of the great work that flourished around The Stack a few 
years before and after 1840. 

As already stated, the discovery of iron ore in Muhlenberg County 
prompted Buckner and Churchill to organize a company to develop this 
mineral. Investigation revealed the fact that there was not only sufficient 
surface ore to justify the building of a furnace, but that there also existed 



enough good ore below the surface to supply them for a century or more. 
The furnace they built was in operation about four years, during which 
time various processes were experimented with. Besides making a great 
quantity of pig iron they also manufactured a number of iron utensils, 
among them kettles without legs or "ears," ovens, shovels, tongs, and and- 
irons or dog-irons, some of which can still be found in the county. 

The pair of dog-irons of which a picture is here given were made at the 
Buckner Furnace about the year 1840. Notwithstanding the fact that they 




m '.. .^^^^mi^^^^^^^^l 





were used during cold weather for seventy years, they are for all practical 
purposes as good now as the day they were cast. The part which supports 
the log of wood is in one solid piece, about fifteen inches long by four inches 
high and an half-inch thick. The base is kept in an upright position by a 
winglike pedestal which spreads out in front. The upright, which keeps 
the forestick from rolling off on the hearth, is twelve inches high and is a 
representation of the head of some animal of uncertain identity. It resem- 
bles somewhat the head of a camel on the neck of a goose. 

Many pairs of dog-irons of this type were made at The Stack, but tradi- 
tion does not tell who designed them. The designer, if we apply the F. C. 
Morse theory, evidently was not a "Campbellite"; for Morse, in a book on 
"Furniture of the Olden Times, " saj's that immediately after the Revolu- 
tion andirons known as "Hessians," in which the upright was the figure of 
a Hessian soldier, were very popular, and that "the figures of the hated al- 



lies of the British thus received' the treatment with flame and ashes that 
Americans considered the originals to merit, to say nothing of worse indig- 
nities cast upon them by the circle of tobacco-using patriots. ' ' 

The dwellers in the Buckner colony lived on the best the country then 
afforded. They not only used the produce and meal furnished by the neigh- 
boring farmers, but also supplied themselves with game, fish, and forest 
fruits. In those days fish were plentiful in Pond Creek.^ Deer were so 
numerous and so destructive to crops that many farmers were obliged 


to guard their cornfields to keep the deer from trampling down the grow- 
ing plants. Raising beans was almost an impossibility, for the deer loved 
{sprouting beans better than some of us like venison. Turkeys were in 
abundance, and wild pigeons were more plentiful than sparrows are now. 
'Coon and 'possum hunting was on the program nearly every night in the 

A story is told of a certain Scotchman who, shortly after arriving from 
his native land, procured a position at the Furnace and one day shot some 
turkey buzzards while wandering around in Pond Creek bottom, mistaking 
them for a bird he had eaten in Scotland. With these he prepared a sur- 
prise dinner for his friends. All enjoyed the meal very much until the 

2 Pond Creek is the longest creek within the bounds of Muhlenberg County. It 
rises in the Friendship Neighborhood, near the church, and flows into Green River 
near Paradise. 


"Scotch fowl" was indulged in. Many commented on the peculiar flavor 
of the meat, but, fearing they might offend their host by declining to eat 
abundantly of his much-prized dish, they partook freely. They begged to 
know more about this peculiar "Scotch fowl." After some persuasion he 
proudly told them where ana how he had captured this most palatable of 
birds. The guests threw up their hands in horror. They not only refused 
to continue the meal, but even declined to keep what they had already 

Much of the salt used by the Furnace people was procured from Deer 
Lick or Salt Wells, or Salt Lick Creek, about one mile above The Stack, 
where common salt was made by the evaporating process from the waters of 
a small spring. It was a well-known lick even before the days of the Buck- 
ners, and for many years supplied the immediate neighborhood with this 
essential. About the year 1855, so runs the story, some men, thinking a 
stronger solution of salt could be found here, dug three wells near the lick. 
But the water from the wells proved to be no stronger than that coming 
from the spring. This was a disappointment to the investigators. Salt 
water was then boiled and evaporated for a number of days, and the salt 
thus obtained thrown back into the wells ; a Greenville capitalist was then 
invited to inspect the new "gold mine." He made a hasty inspection and 
analysis of the water, bought the farm, and some time later learned that 
there is such a thing as "salting" a salt well. 

The Furnace folks spent some of their leisure time on the hill west of The 
Stack, on the old Indian burying-grounds. Some of the picnic parties that 
spend a day around or near the ruins of The Stack climb this hill and view 
what is now left of the seven mounds that once stood there. It is a joke 
among some of the neighborhood boys to tell the newcomer that if he wishes 
to know why these Indians were killed he need but stand on any of the 
mounds and solemnly cry out, "Lo, poor Indian, for what did the white 
man kill you?" Not hearing a response, the newcomer is urged to ask the 
question again. He finally discovers that "Nothing" is the answer. 

Louis Greenway was one of the many interesting characters around the 
Furnace. He made a wager he could lead a certain blind horse over the 
'trestle to the top of The Stack and then safely back him off again, "with 
ten drinks in him." Tradition does not say whether "in him" had refer- 
ence to the man or to the horse. At any rate, it was successfully done. 

Shoemaker was the name of the official shoemaker. He exchanged 
shoes for untanned cowhides. His dealings with his patrons were any- 
thing but satisfactory to them, so one day they all joined in and gave him a 
"cowhide." He has not been heard from since. It was rumored that he 
'joined Lonz Pennington, the outlaw, who was maneuvering in this part of 
the State at that time. The only thing Shoemaker left behind was a large 
trough, made from the trunk of an oak tree, and prepared by himself to be 
used as his coffin. After his departure his intended coffin was used as a 
feeding trough in a pig-pen. 

Many of the men and women connected with The Stack attended church 
very regularly. Some went to Greenville, while others worshiped with the- 
members of the then newly organized Friendship congregation. Friend- 



Upper Pond Creek country 

ship Baptist Church, two miles northwest of The Stack, was then and still is 
located in what is very appropriately called the Friendship Neighborhood. 
This congregation was organized in the old Hickory Withe Sehoolhouse a 
few years before The Stack was built. In 1837 its members put up a log 
house on land donated by Charles Metzker. The third (the present) build- 
ing was erected in 1893. The burying-ground adjoining was started in 1883, 
and is now one of the best-kept country graveyards in the county. In it are 
buried a number of men 
and women who in their 
youth saw the Buckner 
Furnace in operation. One 
of Friendship's best-known 
preachers was the Reverend 
William Dodd Pannell, who 
was born in Todd County 
in 1824, came to Friendship 
about 1855, and died on his 
farm, near the church, in 
1877. He was the father of 
James P., Thomas B., and 
Frank B. Pannell. 

There is a variety of 
stories told regarding the 
negro Isaac, who was hanged Friday, July 6, 1838, for attempting to kill 
Buckner. Some say Buckner had treated him shamefully by starving him 
and refusing to let him wear shoes, but such statements can not possibly be 
founded on facts, for Buckner was a tall and portly man, with the reputa- 
tion of having a heart as kind as he was large. At any rate it was rumored 
among the slaves that Churchill was willing to abandon the Furnace, and 
would have done so had Buckner agreed to it. Isaac belonged to the 
Churchills, who then lived in Elizabethtown, and being dissatisfied with 
his surroundings came to the conclusion that if he killed Buckner then 
Churchill would desert the Furnace and he would be allowed to return to 
his master's home. Supported by this simple logic, the negro proceeded to 
carry out his plan. He approached Buckner with an ax, and without a 
word of warning began striking him in the face. Buckner was rescued by 
some men who happened on the scene, but not until he had fallen uncon- 
scious to the ground with two long gashes in his face, the scars of which 
never disappeared. In the confusion that followed the negro made his es- 
cape, and had fled to a point on the Russellville road, a little north of what 
is now Dunmor, when he was discovered by the Grabel boys, who found the 
exhausted slave sleeping alongside a log. Not knowing of his bloody deed 
they were about to release him, when Robert Jackson appeared and recog- 
nized him as the negro who had tried to assassinate Buckner. He was sent 
to Greenville, tried by the court, and sentenced to death. While confined in 
jail he was frequently visited by Mrs. Churchill, who read religious books 
to him and also helped him in his prayers. 



On the morning of the hanging Isaac was taken from his cell, put on a 
wagon, where his coffin served as a seat, and was thus driven to the edge of 
the woods, about half a mile south of Greenville. He was hanged between 
two poplar trees, and the same wagon and coffin on which he rode to his ex- 
ecution were used as the platform and trap of his gallows. He stood erect 
on his coffin with a suspended rope around his neck. The horses pulled the 
wagon forward, Isaac fell, and a few minutes later was prepared for burial. 

Upon presentation of a certificate 
of death, signed by the sheriff. 
Churchill received the sum of one 
thousand dollars from the State as 
compensation for his executed 

According to some tellers of 
the story, the negro was not killed 
by the hanging, but showed signs 
of life after he was placed in his 
coffin; whereupon his head was 
cliopped off with the same ax he 
had used on Buckner, and placed 
on the end of a hickory pole at the 
side of the Russellville road, where 
it remained exposed to the public 
for a number of days. This state- 
ment is not true. However, a cir- 
cumstance of that nature took 
place some years later, when a 
negro by the name of Gray was 
lynched in Greenville in 1870. 
Shortly following his trouble with Isaac, Buckner had another narrow 
escape. A well was being dug north of The Stack. After reaching a depth of 
about twenty-five feet one of the charges of powder placed in the bottom did 
not explode, although a reasonable time was allowed for that purpose. Sus- 
pecting carelessness on the part of the man who did the work, Buckner di- 
rected one of tlie negroes to let him down in the box attached to the wind- 
lass. He had descended only a short distance when the fuse began to sizz. 
Buckner immediately commanded the slave to pull him up, but the negro be- 
came excited, lost his grip on the winch, and ran away. By the time Buck- 
ner had dropped half-way down the well the explosion took place, throwing 
him and the box up through the opening, landing him some ten feet from 
the rim. 

The negro, having been punished for deserting his post, planned re- 
venge. One of his duties was to dump the iron ore from the platform down 


3 This was the first of the legal hangings that have taken place in the county, 
and is referred to in the chapter on "Slavery Days." The second, as there stated, 
took place in 1850, and the third in 1853. The fourth and last was the hanging of 
Alexander Harrison on August 9, 1906. All were negroes, and all but Isaac were 
convicted of criminal assault. 



into the furnace. One day while Buckner was inspecting that part of the 
works the negro sprang upon him, intending to throw him into the burning 
oven. Suspecting the slave, Buckner was on his guard. After a short 
struggle the negro discovered stronger resistance than he had anticipated. 
Having nothing but death and revenge on his mind, he decided to jump 
into the furnace, pull Buckner down with him, and thus cause both to per- 
ish together. He clutched at his master's arm, but instead caught hold of a 
loose shirt-sleeve. As he made the fatal leap Buckner 's sleeve was torn, and 
the negro, with his hands clutching a bit of rag, fell into the fiery furnace 
alone. One version of this incident goes on to say that immediately after the 
negro fell into the furnace a long white flame gushed out of the top and the 




sky above was filled with black smoke, and that next day a black heart- 
shaped cinder was found in the ashes. 

The local trade on dog-irons and other domestic utensils made at the 
Furnace was far more extensive than was anticipated, but in the meantime 
the operating expenses grew greater, month after month, while the net re- 
ceipts from the sale of pig iron increased comparatively little. However, 
Buckner and Churchill did not give up hope of success. In 1840 they mort- 
gaged the works and their forty-five hundred acres of land to the Bank of 
Kentucky and various individuals. It is a well-known fact that about this 
time Eastern mines became better equipped, and being located in more ac- 
cessible sections were able to place their material on the market at a lower 
figure than Buckner and Churchill could. The Stack's long road to Green 
River led to its financial grave. The hauling of the pig iron to Kincheloe's 
Bluff or South Carrollton, a distance of eighteen miles, over new and rough 
roads, involved an enormous expense that could in no way be reduced. So 
the Furnace was abandoned in 1842. Many families connected with it re- 
turned to their native towns, while others bought farms and remained in the 
county. No man in southern Muhlenberg did more to assist Buckner and 



Churchill while they were in the county, and none did more to encourage 
those who remained, than Esquire John Jenkins."* 

From page 139 of the First Kentucky Geological Survey, compiled by 
David Dale Owen and published in 1855, I quote: 

The discontinuance of the operations of the Buckner furnace was not 
due to any deficiency or defect in the ores, but for want of capital, and 
from the bad condition of the stack, which was entirely too large a diameter 
for the blast. . . . The gray limestone used as a flux was obtained one 
mile south of the furnace. . . . Both the analysis of the ore, the thickness 
of the ore beds, and proximity of all the necessary materials, with an ample 
supply of forest timber, all indicate a favorable position for iron works ; 
especially if by the construction of a railroad through Muhlenberg County 
to the Ohio River a more direct line of communication to a market were 

Simon Bolivar Buckner was a young man in those days. He was born 

in Hart County April 1, 1823. In 
the spring of 1839, after finishing 
a course of studies at a private 
school in Hopkinsville, he was 
given a position as clerk at his 
father's furnace. Here he worked 
for about two years, during which 
time he made many trips to Green- 
ville, then a town of about three 
hundred people. It was in this 
way that he met Charles Fox 
AVing, who took a fatherly interest 
in him. In fact the two kept up a 
correspondence for twenty years, 
until the time of Captain Wing's 
death, which, as stated in the chap- 
ter on the Civil War, took place 
the day before General Buckner 
passed through Greenville with his 

In June, 1840, Charles McLean, 
son of Judge Alney McLean, re- 
turned from West Point because of his dislike for military discipline and 
his longing to be at home with his brother Alney, jr. These twin brothers 
were bachelors and inseparable companions all their life long. Charles died 
in Greenville in May, 1895, at the age of seventy-six, and was followed ten 
years later by Alney, jr. Upon Charles McLean's return from West Point, 
Simon Bolivar Buckner, then employed at The Stack, was appointed a 


•* Squire John Jenkins was one of twelve children of pioneer Amos Jenkins, 
who is now represented in the county by many descendants. Pioneer Amos Jen- 
kins was born in 1784 and came to Muhlenberg in 1810, where he died in 1839. His 
wife, Grace Bearing, was born in 1788 and died near Olive Grove Church in 1883. 
They were the parents of (1) Mrs. Elizabeth (Henry) Bivins, (2) John, (3) 
Henry, (4) Robert, (5) Mrs. Parky (Joseph) Gates, (6) Mrs. Sally (Henry) Gates, 


cadet to succeed him at the military school. He was graduated from the 
Academy on July 1, 1844, and, as is well known, was immediately assigned 
to the army. A daguerreotype, made in 1846, represents him as brevet cap- 
tain, aged twenty-three; another picture, also here reproduced, is a copy of 
a portrait made sixty years later. 

Although General Buckner lived in the county only two years, Muhlen- 
berg has since that time regarded him more or less as a son, and the General 
looks upon ^Muhlenberg as the place where his destiny was shaped. This 
feeling he not only expressed in public when, in 1861, he marched through 
the county with his army, but again showed in 1887, when he visited 
Greenville as a candidate for Governor, to which office he was elected ; and 
again in 1896, w^hen as a candidate for A^ice-President on the National Dem- 
ocratic Gold Standard ticket he stopped in town for a short time. 

Colonel Aylette Hartswell Buckner, the father of General Buckner, 
was a son of Philips Buckner. He was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, 
in 1792, and came to Kentucky in 1803 with his parents, who settled in Hart 
County. A. H. Buckner was in his twenty-first year when, in 1813, he en- 
listed in Colonel James Simrall's regiment. He was present during the 
siege of Fort Meigs and also took part in the battle of the Thames. Like 
his friend Charles Fox "Wing, he was always greatly interested in the sol- 
diers of the War of 1812. In his day he was one of the best-known men in 
the State. About the year 1832 he built the Henry Clay furnace in Hart 
County, and about five years later left Hart County for Muhlenberg, where 
he erected the Buckner Furnace, or The Stack. As early as 1832 he prophe- 
sied that within a hundred years every county in the State would be 
reached by lines of railroad and that people then would travel in iron cars 
and sleep in beds at night while traveling, and that iron would in many 
things take the place of wood. During his four years' stay in Muhlenberg 
he did much toward the advance- 
ment of the county's interests. In 
1842, when The Stack was aban- 
doned, he moved to his plantation 
at B e e c h 1 a n d , near Camden, 
Arkansas, where he died in 1852. 

When the Buckners came to 
Muhlenberg they brought with 
them the cradle in which their the buckner cradle 

son Simon Bolivar and their older 

children had been rocked as babies. When they left the county Mrs. Buck- 
ner presented the old cradle to her friend Mrs. John Adair Allison, who 
handed it down to her daughter, Mrs. W. Britton Davis, in whose family it 
has since remained. It is thirty-nine inches long, sixteen inches wide and 

(7) Lemuel Harvey, (8) Mrs. Julia (Jonathan) Shutt, (9) Mrs. Jane (Frank) Gray, 
(10) Thomas, (11) Alney McLean, and (12) Miss Mahala Jenkins. 

John Jenkins, better known as Squire Jenkins, was born July 7, 1807, and died 
May 11, 1885. He was one of the best-known and most progressive men in the 
southern part of the county, where he owned large tracts of land. He was fre- 
quently called the Lord of the Long Creek Country. A.mong his ten children is 
Amos M. Jenkins, who was born December 22, 1832. 



about fifteen inches deep. It seems to be of yellow poplar, put together 
with wrought iron or "shop" nails, and is typical of the cradles of the olden 
days. The rockers are off, and a stool that went with it has been lost. 

A few years after the Buckner Furnace had been abandoned and the 
Buckners had vacated the large house, it was occupied by Alexander Hen- 
drie, known as "Scotch Henry," who was then looking after the interests 
of R. S. C. A. Alexander. On a piece of land he cleared north of The Stack, 

about 1853, and on which he raised 
several crops of corn, the original 
ridges can still be easily traced in 
spite of the heavy second growth 
of timber now scattered over them. 
For a short time "Scotch Henry" 
was associated with J. Jack Robert- 
son in the milling business. Their 
grist and saw mill was located 
on Pond Creek, on wliat is 
known to-day as the Welborn 
farm or the Jack Robertson old 
place. The well-known "Jack 
Ford" in this immediate neighbor- 
hood, now used by Carter's Creek 
Church as a baptizing place, de- 
rives its name from the fact that in 
olden times the farmers forded the 
creek there on their way to Jack's 
Mill. This mill was in operation 
until 1864, although Alexander 
Hendrie had withdrawn about ten 
years before.'' 
The Buckner house was next occupied by Joseph Turner. He was fol- 
lowed by Alfred Johnson, the famed stone-mason and chimney builder. At 
the age of eighty "Uncle Alf," or "Old Honesty" as he was called, was 
baptized in "Jack Ford." In his later days, although he had grown old in 


5 James Jackson Robertson was born in South Carolina in 1802 and died at his 
home on Pond Creek July 31, 1871. About the year 1810 he came to Muhlenberg 
with his father, pioneer Robert Robertson, who died near Carter's Creek Church 
in 1843. Robert Robertson was the father of (1) John, who married Charlotte 
Wright; (2) Thomas, who married Elizabeth Craig; (3) James Jackson, who mar- 
ried Susanna W. Campbell; (4) Mrs. Rachael (T. P.) Morton; and (5) Mrs. Jane 
(Eli) Jackson. James Jackson Robertson was the father of seven children, among 
whom are Thomas C. Robertson, Mrs. Nancy A. (Thomas M.) Finley, and Mary 
Lura Robertson, whose first husband was W. G. Claggett. 

John Robertson's wife, Charlotte, was a daughter of pioneers John and Eliza- 
beth Grigsby Wright, who came to Muhlenberg about 1808, where they died in 
1864. Although John Wright left no son to perpetuate his name, he nevertheless 
is a forefather of more people in southern Muhlenberg than any other pioneer. 
All of his six daughters, except Lucy, became mothers of large families. (1) Char- 
lotte, as just stated, married John Robertson; (2) Winnie married Alfred Johnson; 
(3) Lourana married John Jenkins; (4) Elizabeth married Isaac Bodine; (5) 
Jane, whose first husband was Moses Smith and her second Peter Smith; (6) Lucy 
married Lewis McCown. 



years he remained young in spirit. A peculiar thing about him was that up 
to the time of his death (1896, aged eighty-five) his mustache remained black, 
although the hair on his head had been white for a quarter of a century.^ 

Among those who occupied the famous old Buckner house after Alfred 
Johnson were James P. Drake, Isaac, Joe, and Ben Mitchell, James Dune, 
Eli Skip worth, Ferney and Hutson Driskell, Plunket Parnham, William 
Warren, and J. F. Driskell. Stanford Lee was the last man to make this 
noted house his home. He left 
about 1875, after which the de- 
serted place soon began to col- 
lapse. The last of the old logs 
and chimney rocks were re- 
moved in 1890, and since that 
time nothing but a few broken 
stones have marked this historic 
spot. In 1880 Tom B. Johnson 
built a substantial log house on 
the Furnace land near The 
Stack, for the erection of which 
he procured much material from 
the abandoned Buckner house. 
There it stands to-day. "The 
Stack Plouse, " as it is called, is 
by no means as large as the orig- 
inal or of the same design. Al- 
though put up many years after 
the days of the early settler, it 
is a good type of the log house 
built in olden times. 

The ground on which The 
Stack was built was part of a 
six-hundred-acre survey pat- 
ented by James Weir, sr., and 
sold to Buckner and Churchill, 
who at the same time purchased all the land in the neighborhood, making a 
total of forty-five hundred acres. After they disposed of this tract it 
passed through several hands and in 1851 was bought by R. S. C. A. Alexan- 
der, who shortly after procured about twelve thousand acres on Green River 


6 Alfred Johnson was one of the six sons of pioneer Jacob Johnson, who is the 
forefather of nearly all the Johnsons in southern Muhlenberg, some of whom spell 
the name Johnston. Pioneer Jacob Johnson came to Muhlenberg with his father 
Josiah Johnson about the year 1810, and died in 1845. Jacob and his wife Eliza- 
beth (Wells) Johnson were the parents of (1) Alfred, (2) John, (3) Jacob, jr., or 
"Proctor"; (4) Burt H., (5) Hines, and (6) James. 

Alfred Johnson, or "Old Honesty," was born in 1811 and died October 25, 1896. 
During his life he was one of the best-known farmers and stone-masons in the 
county. Although he was never a soldier, other than a member of the old militia, 
his interest in military affairs was such that during the Civil War some of his 
friends persuaded him to have his picture taken while wearing a Federal officer's 
uniform, which they borrowed for that purpose. This picture is here reproduced. 


near Paradise. In 1854, as is told in another chapter, Alexander opened 
up the Airdrie mines. In 1865 General Buell leased the mineral rights to 
all the Alexander lands for forty years, including the Buckner Furnace 
tract. However, the mineral on the Buckner land was not developed, for 
General Buell devoted his time to the Airdrie mines and furnace on Green 
River, which had been abandoned ten years before. In 1890 all the Alexan- 
der lands in Muhlenberg County were deeded to Alexander's sister, Mrs. 
Lucy A. Waller, who in 1893 sold the Buckner Furnace tract, then about 
three thousand acres, to Koerner Brothers, of Indiana, who cut staves off it 
for a few years. It was while connected with this company that Alvin L. 
Taylor and a number of othere came from Indiana and settled in the 
county,'*' The land has since changed owners a number of times, and is now 
the property of the Rothert family, of wiiich I am a member. Although the 
place is reduced somewhat in size, the original six-hundred-acre survey on 
a portion of which the ruins of The Stack stand is still a part of what for 
three quarters of a century has ])een known as the Buckner tract or Furnace 
land, this history of which it has given me pleasure to write. 

" Alvin L. Taylor was born near Adeyville, Indiana, August 25, 1862, and moved 
to Muhlenberg in 1893, since which time he has been regarded as one of the most 
influential citizens in the southern part of the county. After spending a few years 
in the stave and saw-mill business he opened up some ground near The Stack, 
where he has since lived and maintained a good farm. Mr. Taylor introduced 
many of the up-to-date farming methods and much of the newer agricultural ma- 
chinery now used in the county. 




'EXICO had never acknowledged the independence of Texas, which 
had been declared by the people of that State in 1836; so when, 
in 1845, the new republic was annexed to the United States, war 
with Mexico followed. Kentucky was called on for twenty-four 
hundred men. Volunteers were promptly organized everywhere in the 
State. Ten thousand offered their services, but less than half were accepted. 
The others were not needed. History also says that by far the greater num- 
ber of Kentuckians who fought in the I\lexican War came from the central 
sections of the State, and that comparatively few lived in the western part. 
]\Tuhlenberg's representation, as far as I can learn, was very small; no 
smaller, in proportion to its population, however, than the other counties of 
the section. 

The story of Muhlenberg's connection with the Mexican War is a brief 
one. Tradition does not say whether a company was organized in the county 
during the beginning of the war, but in the latter part of 1847 Colonel 
Moses Wickliffe formed a company and was prepared to leave, but his com- 
mission was delayed and not delivered to him until after the news that 
peace had been declared reached Greenville. It is probable that the few 
men who enlisted and saw service, w^iile citizens of Muhlenberg, became 
members of companies in the Fourth Regiment Kentucky Foot Volunteers, 
organized at Owensboro, Princeton, and Smithland. 

As far as I am aware General S. B. Buckner is the only soldier of the 
war who lived in the county before hostilities but not after. More than half 
the veterans of the Mexican War who made Muhlenberg their home became 
citizens of the county after the conflict ; most prominent among these were 
Colonel S. P. Love, who moved into the county in 1849, and General Don 
Carlos Buell, who came in 1866. Veterans of the Mexican War residing in 
Muhlenberg and some of the adjoining counties held several reunions under 
the leadership of Colonel Love. No record of these meetings was kept, at 
least none is now to be found. I compiled the following list of fifteen 
names of Muhlenberg men who were in the Mexican War and who were cit- 
izens of the county when the war began or became citizens later. This list, 
notwithstanding the fact that I devoted much time to it, is probably far 
from complete : Richard Aycock, Don Carlos Buell, Perry Clemmons, Har- 
rison Clifford, Granville Corley, Arthur N. Davis, Mosley Collins Drake, jr., 
Richard Bayless Earle, Henry Greenwood, S. P. Ijove, James Nunan, Raisin 
Pool, Levi Pruitt, Isaac R. Sketo, and Jonas Walker. 



I have no memoranda on the lives of Aycock, Clemmons, Clifford, Drake, 
Earle, and Walker, beyond the fact that they were Mexican War soldiers. 
Arthur N. Davis, Raisin Pool, Levi Pruitt, and Isaac R. Sketo fought in 
both the Mexican War and the Civil AVar. Granville Corley, S. P. Love, 
an.d Don Carlos Buell were also veterans of the two wars. Elsewhere in 
this book are given the biographies of S. P. Love and of General Don 
Carlos Buell. 

Captain A. N. Davis was born in Tennessee in 1826. He joined the 
army for Mexico in Tennessee, Colonel David Allison's regiment. He came 

to Muhlenberg in 1847, and in 1861 
helped organize Company D, 
Third Kentucky Cavalry, and be- 
came the company's first captain. 
He took part in a number of bat- 
tles in both wars, and about 1872 
was killed on his farm, three miles 
south of Greenville, by the falling 
of the bough of a tree under which 
he and his family chanced to be 
driving. Raisin Pool, it is said, 
was captured by the Mexicans, 
and was also among the soldiers 
liberated from Libby Prison at the 
close of the Civil War. Levi Pruitt, 
although seriously wounded in the 
Mexican War, was among the first 
to enlist in the Federal army after 
volunteers were called for. Captain 
Sketo fought through the greater 
part of the Mexican War and was 
^ killed at Shiloh on April 7, 1862. 
Henry Greenwood, while still living in North Carolina, enlisted as a soldier 
in the Mexican War. He came to IMuhlenberg about 1855, and lived in the 
Cisney neighborhood, where he died July 35, 1907. James Nunan, while a 
boy in his early teens, became a member of a company organized in Louis- 
ville which shortly after saw service in the Mexican War. He was born in 
Dublin, Ireland, in 1832, and nine years later came to this country with his 
parents. His father, James Nunan, sr., was a well-known educator in the 
Bluegrass region. James Nunan moved to South Carrollton about the year 
1873, while engaged on the construction of the Owensboro & Russellville Rail- 
road, and continued to live there until his death, May 12, 1909. One wlio 
knew him well says: "James Nunan was one of the foremost civil engineers 
and railroad contractors in the State. He built and at one time owned the 
Owensboro & Russellville Railroad. He was noted for his extensive travels 
and superior mental attainments. During his eventful career he made and 
lost several fortunes." 

The county's veterans of the Mexican War have now all passed away. 
The last to answer the call was Granville Corley, who died on Tuesday, 



October 24, 1911. At the time of his death the Greenville Record published 
the following: 

Muhlenberg lost one of its eldest and most widely known citizens Tues- 
day morning, when Mr. Granville Corley died at the home of his grandson, 
Mr. Thaddeus E. Corley, about two miles west of Earles, on the Madison- 
ville Road. Mr. Corley was born July 9, 1822. The afflictions of age, 
coupled with an accident in which he fell and broke his leg a year ago, 
caused his death. His death removed the last of the veterans of the county 
who saw service in the Mexican "War ; he was also a veteran of the Civil 
"War, a distinguished member of Company K, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry. 
He has lived to see many of his comrades fall before that unconquerable 
enemy, the Death Angel, after having endured the rigors of war. Mr. Cor- 
ley was one of the county's pioneers, and a gentleman of the old school. His 
wife had been dead more than a score of years. They had only one child, 
Mr. James Corley, who died August 9, 1909. Interment was in the family 
graveyard near Graham, and was largely attended by people from all over 
the county. The funeral was conducted by the Masons of the John T. 
Crandall Lodge, of Earles, of which he was one of the charter members. 
Several old soldiers were also in attendance, and a silk flag was placed at 
the head of the grave after the mound had been covered with flowers. The 
ceremony was a very impressive and affecting one. 


THE Reverend Isaac Bard came to Muhlenberg in 1823, then in his 
twenty-sixth year, and from that time for almost a half century 
led a very active life in the community. No local preacher was 
better known in his day than "Preacher Bard."' It is quite prob- 
able that during his more active ministerial career he was heard by every 
citizen then residing in the county. Those who listened to his sermons evi- 
dently remembered that fact, for although he died thirty-five years ago all 
the older native-born citizens now living, and to whom I have mentioned 
the name of Isaac Bard, invariably remarked that they had heard him 

He devoted about half his time to ministerial work ; much of the remain- 
der he gave to his farm on Bard's Hill, south of Depoy. He owned exten- 
sive tracts of timber lands in the Pond River country, on which he ranged 
his stock. It is said he was often heard calling his hogs with a fox-horn. 
He was a tall, muscular man, kind and generous to every person with whom 
he came in contact, and extremely gentle to all animals. One who knew 
him well says: "Preacher Bard was a scholar and a gentleman of the old 
school. He was one of the most sober looking and at the same time most 
pleasant men I ever met. I remember he always had cold feet and usually 
kept them wrapped up in heavy cloth, and frequently complained of the 

Isaac Bard was a son of William and Mary (Kincaid) Bard, and was 
born in Nelson County, Kentucky, near Bardstown, January 13, 1797. 
He died at his home, seven miles west of Greenville, June 29, 1878. 
After spending a few years in Transylvania University, Lexington, he be- 
gan, in 1817, a course in Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey, and 
on April 27, 1820, was licensed to preach. During tlie same year he entered 
in the Senior class of Union College, Schenectady, New York, from which 
scliool he was graduated in 1821, and shortly after returned to Kentucky. 

On July 26, 1823, he was ordained in Greenville by the Muhlenberg 
Presbytery and immediately took charge of the Presbyterian Church at 
Greenville and the congregation at Mt. Zion, near Green River. In autumn 
of the same year he organized IMt. Pleasant Church, near Pond River. 
These three congregations remained in his charge until about 1833. During 
this period he built a brick church in Greenville on a lot presented by pio- 
neer James Weir. The old brick house was long ago abandoned as a place 
of worship, and is now used as a warehouse. 

After the year 1833 no congregation was solely under his supervision, 
for from that time, and continuing for many years, he extended his minis- 



terial work among many of the Presbyterian churches in Muhlenberg and 
all the adjoining counties. In 1862, when the division of the Presbyterian 
church took place, Mr. Bard adhered to the Southern General Assembly. 

On March 15, 1827, he was married to Matilda Miranda Moore, daugh- 
ter of pioneer Maurice iMoore. They were the parents of five children: 
Henry Clay Bard, Luther Bard, Mrs, Verona Mary (Carrol) Larkins, Mrs. 
Martha Amaryllis (R. P.) Howell, and Doctor LaFayette Bard, all of whom 
made Muhlenberg their home. 


When, in 1823, Isaac Bard first came to Muhlenberg, many of the Revo- 
lutionary soldiers and other pioneers were still alive. He was a college 
man, who from childhood had been in touch with the progress made in vari- 
ous cities and centers of culture and refinement. His constant association 
with the pioneers and their children undoubtedly had an influence in mod- 
ernizing their habits and practices; and on the other hand, living among 
these people, many of their characteristic manners and customs became 
his own. 


Farms, in those days, were few and far between. The county was still 
regarded as a new country. Most of the sermons then heard by the local 
people were delivered by men who, although deeply interested in religious 
work and well versed in the Bible, had a limited knowledge of theology and 
of logic. When Mr, Bard appeared on the scene he found a good field for 
the exercise of his college education and religious training. The uneducated 
as well as the educated recognized his ability as a "sermonizer. " 

He kept pacp with the times at home and abroad, and in some respects 
was ahead of his day. He lived during that period of the country's history 
when "freedom and liberty" were known to be permanently established, 
and fighting for them was therefore no longer one of the principal objects 
in life. Local political questions, although discussed from the time the 
county was organized, were rapidly becoming more and more the leading 
topics of the day. Among some of the citizens the acquiring of land and 
wealth was gradually becoming the sole object in life, Isaac Bard was 
swayed by these times. He not only performed the duties of a preacher and 
a doctor and looked after his farm, but also took an active interest in na- 
tional and local politics, and in the meantime, like some of the other citizens, 
invested in land. He was the first man to advocate the draining of the Pond 
River bottoms, and about the year 1850 made an attempt to redeem some of 
the rich soil he owned below Murphy's Lake; but owdng to the abundance of 
other good land, not subject to overflow, and owing to the scarcity of labor, 
he abandoned the work. When, a few years after the Civil War, the build- 
ing of a railroad was proposed, JMr, Bard was enthusiastically in favor of a 
bond issue, for he realized that such means of transportation was necessary 
for the upbuilding and advancement of the county. 

As already stated, he was always in touch with his times. The following 
letter quoted from "The Private Correspondence of Henry Clay," compiled 
and published in 1856 by Calvin Cotton, Cincinnati, shows that Mr. Bard 
was an admirer of good and influential men, and that if he so desired he 
could write in a style that showed he was a man of literary ability : 

Greenville, Kentucky, 
Mr. Henry Clay, March 27, 3828. 



Dear Sir : — 

I know you will not think it strange if an unknown friend should ad- 
dress a letter to you. Have you not given yourself to your beloved country, 
devoted yourself to her cause, and may not the citizen claim you as his prop- 
erty and inheritance? If so, why should an humble citizen be shy and stand 
aloof from him whom he has long loved and admired? 

Will you be so kind as to indulge me in some desultory remarks ? When 
I was pursuing ray education in Lexington, I first heard you deliver an ora- 
tion at the laying of the corner-stone of the Hospital. As a student and boy 
I was much pleased. Once on Poplar Row, on the pavement, I met you and 
there were none else on the whole street, and you spoke to me so politely 
and friendly, it. though a little thing, made no small impression. The next 


time I saw you was when I was at College and the Divinity School, you 
passed through Princeton, sitting by the driver on an outside seat of the 
stage, spoke to Mr. William Warfield, who was with me coming up street. 
To say the least, the way you spoke to him (an acquaintance) impressed me 
that you, in no ordinary degree, were a man of friendly feeling, of open- 
ness and urbanity of manner. 

But it is not merely the pleasing qualifications and attractions of pri- 
vate character, your eloquence and ratiocination, the boon of God, but your 
political course, and those important national principles of internal im- 
provement, smiling on rising republics, that enhance you in the approbation 
and give you such a scope in the affections of your fellow-citizens. You have 
already established an imperishable reputation. A wreath of evergreens 
encircles your brow, and will entwine around your name while time shall 
last. Your reputation the storms of persecution have tried to carry away ; 
but it is built on a basis that wondering ages can not waste. Ethiopia will 
remember your colonization efforts. South America and Greece will couple 
your name with liberty and independence. Your Tariff speech of 1824 has 
opened the eyes of the American people and they will not forget you. Roads 
and canals and manufactures, in fine, the American system, will hail you as 
their founder and father. Sir, if I understand flattery, it is stating what is 
false, but I believe I am telling the truth. Truth that is already written in 
American history — written in the hearts and affections of the American 
people, more indelible than letters engraven on adamant. 

For many years I have read Math pleasure your speeches and observed 
your public course. I have witnessed with heartburning and disgust the 
vituperation and slander of ambitious, wicked men. In private conversa- 
tion I have often pleaded your cause and that of the President, and of your 
policy. I approve heartily of your course. When my friend told me that 
Mr. Adams was President and you had voted for him, a sudden exultation 
of joy flashed through my bosom. 

We (of Greenville) had a large number of your defenses printed at Rus- 
sellville, and I have spread them from ray store far and wide (for T am a 
merchant and Presbyterian preacher). Be assured they are operating pow- 
erfully. It is the best antidote against lying and slander that has ever been 
used. Many of the Jackson men of this county (Muhlenberg) have turned 
completely around. We are decidedly Administration here, by a very large 
majority. I hope you and Mr. Adams will not be discouraged, but keep up 
good spirits. 

In writing you this letter I mean no more than an expression of my 
friendship for you, my country, the prosperity of the nation and the wel- 
fare of civil and religious liberty. I am in the habit of praying for you in 
secret and in public. If I have an interest at the court of Heaven, I have 
tried to make it for you. Thmk; they didn't say, at Hopkinsville, they 
knew I was an Administration man from my prayer, as I prayed for the 
President, etc. But it is not a cause I am ashamed or afraid of ; for if even 
"Old Hickory" should be elected, we will not give up you. You must 
come next. You are consecrated to your country and you are ours. 

Permit me to say, I have named my first-born son Henry Clay Bard. I 
did it for two reasons: 1. As a mark of affection and friendship for you; 
2. That your character might stimulate him to worthy deeds. 

Will you be so good as to give my respects to Mrs. Clay? Will you be 
so good as to give my respects to the President, Mr. Adams ? Tell him I 


pray for him and his cabinet. May God bless Mr. Clay. May God bless the 
President. May God guide and direct him and his counsellors. May you all 
fear God, pray to him, keep his "commandments that it may be well with 
you. ' ' 

Isaac Bard. 

Mr. Bard was always interested in good books, and in the course of 
years accumulated a large library. He was very systematic and kept a 
written record of many of his transactions. His residence burned in 1876, 
two years before he died, and all his books and papers were destroyed except 
two of his own documents. One of these is a diary and the other contains 
some notes on local history. Isaac Bard probably never expected that these 
records would some day form a contribution to a printed history of Muhlen- 
berg County. 

The first of these personal documents is Bard's Diary. This is a leather- 
bound book of two hundred pages, written with a quill pen. Although 
many pages are faded, the records are still legible. The greater part of this 
journal is devoted to the years 1848 to 1851 ; but it extends, with occasional 
entries, down to 1855, after which date about a dozen more records are 
added, bringing it to May, 1872. The diary evidently was written for his 
own gratification and convenience, and was not intended for publication. I 
have gone over it carefully, and here give verbatim all that bears on the his- 
tory of those communities referred to in Muhlenberg County and also all 
such other items as, in my opinion, will interest the reader. The extracts 
quoted comprise about one tenth of the whole : 


July, Thursday, 13, 1848. My commission [as colporteur and mission- 
ary minister, probably], dated January 1, 1848, now begins, and I started 
to-day. Rode to South Carrollton and thence to John Baxter's. Staid all 
night, thence rode to IMcCrearysville, Mouth of Muddy River, and preached 
at Ellzy Hamilton's to an attentive audience. Then rode to Caneyfork 
Church, Butler County, and preached Saturday, Sabbath, and ^Monday, 
three days and four sermons to large and attentive audiences, visited seven 
families. Then rode and preached at Salem, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 
and Sabbath to large and attentive audiences. Preached six sermons, vis- 
ited seven families, then came home. Gone twelve days and rode 126 
miles. . . . 

Friday, Saturday, Sabbath, and Monday, including first Sabbath of 
September, 1848, at Mt. Zion and South Carrollton. Preached three ser- 
mons and I shoveled the first dirt so that John Morgan and John Clark laid 
the corner-stone of the Presbyterian Church of South Carrollton. I made a 
short address and prayed standing on the corner-stone, which was the north- 
west corner for the building, ... on September 4th, 1848. . . . 

Tuesday, November 7th, 1848: Rode to Rumsey and voted for Gen. Tay- 
lor to be president. May the Lord deliver our country from despotism and 
monarchy under the false name and disguise of Democracy. Lord, have 
mercy on us as a nation, givo us the grace of repentance that we may see 


our wickedness, turn from our national sins and seek forgiveness of Thee 
through the blood of atonement. Lord, choose our rulers, preside in our 
destinies and make us a great people, distinguished for righteousness, love 
for pure civil and religious liberty and that we may grow in grace and in 
the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

1848, November 22. The news has come by Lightning, by the Telegraph 
Lines, that Gen. Taylor is elected. If this be so what a change for the good 
of our country ! Lord, Thou knowest, to Thy name be the glory. . . . 

Soon after November 7, 1848, preached at Wm. Keith's on Cypress in 
Muhlenberg at a night meeting, also at Mr. Arnold's a few days after and 
also a night meeting. Both liberal Baptists, and had good and attentive 
audiences. I was surveying some land on Cypress and Green river. The 
people were very kind and attentive to me. . . . 

March, Saturday, 24, 1849. Rode to Rumsey. Preached IMarch 25 in 
Rumsey. . . 

March, Tuesday, 27th, rode to Livingstone (Luther Bard was with me) 
one mile of Owensboro. Wednesday, March 28th, got on board General 
Worth Steam Boat. Went over the Falls of Ohio River while asleep and got 
to Louisville before light Friday morning. Much talk of cholera. It exists 
below on the coast of Mississippi River. . . . Went to Bardstown, . . . 
returned by stage to Louisville, and thence by General AVorth home. 
Preached two sermons, visited eighteen families and traveled 400 miles. 

April, Saturday, 14th, preached at South Carrollton. . . . 

Preached and lectured at South Carrollton on the 3rd Sabbath of June. 
Went and staid at the Bluff with Col. Wilson (old school) Baptist. They 
treated me kindly, had worship night and morning. We debated Emanci- 
pation. My great surprise is how any true Whig or true Democrat should 
oppose it. I have heard men oppose it which said nothing for their Repub- 
licanism or piety. Yet the Colonel is an exception to the above remark. 
Yes, there are men who oppose Emancipation who are influenced by low, 
sordid and selfish notions, whose public spirit reaches no higher than the 
length of their arm or lower than their belly. . . . They say if Kentucky 
should emancipate her slaves we would be ruined. Bob Wickliffe said: 
" The Darkies are the best shade I have ever seen." Perhaps some think 
they will be ruined if they can not sit in the shade quite so much. Indeed, 
I think some more sunshine would be better for health and as a cure for 
empty corn-cribs and barns as well as a good cure to ignorant, idle and dis- 
sipated youth. . . . And if our daughters were more trained in the 
science of cooking, washing, and the wheel and the loom, they would have 
better health and constitutions, less liable to vanity and extravagance. . . . 

1st Sabbath of July, 1849. I preached to-day on Passover and Lord's 
Supper, Ex. 12-8-11. A good attention was paid. Some young men staid 
out in the church yard and talked. I had to reproach and talk plainly of 
such bad conduct. Brother Baxter talked of cutting the tree down they sat 
under ; that if they were so ill mannered and reckless to stay out they must 
go further. It is far worse than heathen to do so to the House of God,_ to 
stay out during Divine Service and interrupt a worshipping congregation. 
It is in keeping with the worst conduct or vice. . . . 

August, Monday, 7, 1849. Mr. Donaldson and I went up to Greenville. 
I voted for Edward R. Weir, the Emancipation candidate. While here I 
met with Col. Wm. McNary and we got into an argument on Emancipation. 
At last we got on the Scriptures on this subject and he said he w^ould go and 
get a Bible and read it and show I was in error. He got the Bible and read 


it and I answered him by reading several verses, Ex. 21 ch. and Leve. 25 
ell. on jubilee and extended my remarks on the scope of the Old and New 
Testaments. Some private questions, not manly, were asked me by G. C. and 
J. E., and also H. R. made an unbecoming remark of private nature. The 
Rev. John Donaldson was present and heard what passed, which took place 

under a locust tree in the court yard. Before I left the Rev. Jones and 

came up. The former opened his Bible and the latter drew out a written 
paper. Both were about to answer me and some person remonstrated and 
got them to go away. Mr. Donaldson, standing on the outer edge of the 
crowd, said he heard several say, ' ' They had better let Bard alone. ' ' When 
I saw Jones and come up and ready to speak, 1 got on a bench and re- 
marked publicly : * ' I wish it understood I do not seek controversy, but I do 
not care how many come and speak, I will answer them." Maj. McNary 
said : "Well, I do not think that that remark is called for." So terminated 
this little debate. Several told me afterwards: "They made nothing off of 
you. You outdone them and you are able to do it." Donaldson said some 
of them said: "When they go to the Scriptures they have no business with 
Mr. Bard." Lord, bless my speech and may much good and no evil come 
of it. Help us to love our neighbor as ourself. 

11th August, Tuesday, 21. , . . Mrs. Dickson, whose husband's 
funeral I preached by request, and I rode forty miles to do so, made me a 
present of $10. I thanked her and also feel thankful to the Lord, for my ex- 
penses, though we live frugal and economical, have increased my debt for 
several years. When a man's expenses at the end of a year are not paid by 
his income, and expenses and income prudently managed, it proves that his 
income is less than his expenses. It is often so with us preachers, and our 
preaching often brings us in debt to men. (xod, our surety, may relieve us, 
but no other. 

February 20, 1850. Rode last Friday to Greenville and assisted Rev. A. 
Housley in a sacramental meeting. Delivered two lectures and two ser- 
mons. There was solemn attention both times. Delivered an address and 
administered sacrament. I took subscriptions for a Presbyterial Academy 
to near $3,000 in two days. Attended the burial of my old and dear friend, 
Mrs. Tabitha McLean, who was buried at old Caney Station Grave Yard, 
with a large concourse of citizens. Delivered two addresses at the burying 
and a prayer. Sister McLean was an extraordinary woman, distinguished 
for talents, orthodoxy and genuine piety. ' ' Precious in the eyes of the Lord 
are the death of his saints." 

Saturday, March 2 (1850), Left home early and rode to Mt. Zion . . . 
lectured on a chapter and then preached on Education and urged the im- 
portance and utility of a Presbyterial Academy and some prospects of hav- 
ing it in Greenville. . . . 

Friday, 15th March, 1850. ... In my tour to Elkton as Agent Com- 
mittee of the Muhlenberg Presbytery and also missionary, I was gone six 
days, visited four families and rode about seventy miles. I wrote a sub- 
scription and got three names to it for $200 ; but it put down payable so far 
in the future and partly in trade that I gave it back and declined it at 

Attended Presbytery April 11, 1850, and Presbytery adjourned Satur- 
day evening (April 13). ... I delivered about a dozen speeches on the 
Presbyterial Academy. I preferred and besought other ministers to advo- 
cate and make speeches for the Academy, but none except Mr. Housley at 
the end of the debate made a little speech for it. Mr. McCullough, elder of 



Henderson, made several speeches against its location at Greenville, to whom 
I had to reply and also to make speeches in favor of having such an institu- 
tion. Such are facts, and I am sorry I have to speak myself in reference to 
them. Again, I have spent much time in getting subscriptions and arguing 
and pleading with individuals for the Academy, when in that time I could 
have preached several sermons; besides I had to take some time to prepare 
the people ; to get them to think about it before subscribing. . . . Also 
delivered one address. After an interesting address of Brother McCullough 


on Sabbath afternoon at 3 o'clock before the members of our Presbytery 
and the congregation in the Presbyterian Church at Greenville. At this 
meeting we made Mr. Charles F. Wing Life Member of the America Sun- 
day-School. On this occasion I gave one dollar and fifty cents to Prof. 
James Grayham because he gave fifty cents. I said we ought to raise it and 
give it to him because he gave it for Mr. Wing. "A cup of cold water" 
will not lose its reward. 

Saturday, May 11, 1850. As trustee I visited Unity Church, opened the 
meeting with singing, delivered a short lecture on 2 Sam. 7-1-2. , . . Unity 
Church is a frame house about 25 by 36, and half finished, no stove, no 
glass, no ceiling, and the question was to finish it. After much debate and 
settling other questions, we, the four sects to whom Maurice Moore deeded 
the land (Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists and Cumberland Presbyte- 
rians), agreed to try and finish the house and get a stove. Brother Stephen 
Harris and I drew a subscription each and I got $34.50, subscribed on May 
]2, 1850. ... Lord, bless my poor labors and take all the glory to 
Thyself. . . . 



July 29, 1850. Vernal Grove, my home, in Muhlenberg County, six 
miles from Greenville, Ky. Having bought a buggy, a one-horse carriage, 
at $40, and received two boxes of the books of the Board of Publication from 
Hopkinsville, I took the books of the smaller box and put them in a trunk 
and new box in my buggy, and started on my tour, the upper end of Muhl- 
enberg Presbytery. According to a list of appointments published in the 
Presbyterian Plerald at Louisville, I went first to Unity Meeting House three 
miles. One-fourth of said house belongs to the Presbyterian Q!hurch. Here 
I lectured on the First Psalm and sold two books of the Board of Publica- 
tion and received the first money, fifty cents, from Mr. E. R. Dillingham. 
Distributed some Tracts. . . . 

July 31, 1850. Wednesday I went to the Brick Church, preached to an 
attentive audience, sold a few books, and got only $2.50 subscribed to the 
Presbyterial Academy. This afternoon went up to Greenville and put up 
with Br. Wing. 

1850, August, 4th Sabbath, 25. Rode three miles in my buggy from Br. 
Andrew Cochran's to Salem Church, lectured and preached. Had some 

fever when I got there. Caught 
cold by sleeping on straw bed, thin 
covering and windows up. Then 
went and dined with James Saw- 
yer ; ate too hearty, too much milk. 
Then went to Bro. Ben Sawyer's; 
James went with me. Fever was 
now very high, very, very sick. 
Got better and better until 
Wednesday morning. Took Cook's 
pills every night . . . but now, 
August 30, I am much better and 
hope, by the Lord's blessing, to 
set out for home on to-morrow. 
Blessed be God for his mercies, 
and I thank him it is no worse. 

September 1, 1850. The places 
I have preached during the last 
four months are as follows : Mt. 
Zion, Brick Church, Greenville. 
Unity, Rumsey, Edward Combs, 
Rochester, Caneyfolk, Cochran's 
and Salera^ ; delivered thirty-four 
lectures, twenty-four sermons, visited fifty-nine families, traveled 369 miles, 
collected $9.70 for the Board of Missions. 

January 21, 1851. . , . Luther Bard began to board at John Coch- 
ran's January 19, 1851, and to go to school to Rev. J. Donaldson. Board 

East of Central City 

1 Unity Church, near McNary Station, is now a Missionary Baptist church. The 
Brick Church, referred to by Isaac Bard, was located a mile southwest of Earles; 
it was torn down about the year 1897. Mount Pleasant Church, now known as 
Pleasant Hill Church, is also in the Pond River country below Harpe's Hill. Mt. 
Zion is east of Central City. This congregation had a nominal existence as early 
as 1804, but was not organized until 1823, when Mr. Bard appeared on the scene. 
The building now occupied by the Mt. Zion congregation was erected in 1900. It 
stands on the site of the old church, and near one of the oldest church burying- 
grounds in Muhlenberg. 


seventy-five cents per week, including washing, cut his own wood, find his 
own candles, and Cochran to find him a room and bed. 

1851, April 1. Went to Greenville and took my daughters, Verona and 
Mary Bard and Martha Amaryllis Bard, to Mr. Green's Female Academy. 
Then engaged in selling and distributing books. 

May 16, 1851. The Rev. A. C. DeWitt, a Methodist minister of Muhlen- 
berg County, and the Rev. James Bennett, a Baptist minister of Ohio 
County, held a debate on Baptism in Greenville on Tuesday, Wednesday, 
Thursday and Friday, the 13, 14, 15 and 16th of May. Hon. Robert S. Rus- 
sell, Isaac Bard and Rev. Kinchen Hay were moderators. There was a 
good deal of shrewdness, talent and reading manifested by the debate. . . . 
Baptism is not settled and must be more fully studied by Pedo-Baptists so 
as to keep the Baptists from most dangerous delusion. 

June, 1851, Thursday, 19th, at 4 o'clock. I, chairman of the Building 
Committee, laid (the other members assisting) the corner-stone of the Pres- 
byterial Academy. I stood on the corner-stone and made a short speech and 
a prayer, asked the blessing of the great Jehovah on the enterprise. Lord, 
cause this house to be built and make it a great blessing to the church and 

July 1, 1851. I have just reported to the Rev. W. W. Hill, from March 
1 to July 1, 1851 — four months. The places I have preached at are as fol- 
lows: Mt. Pleasant, Antioch, Jefferson, Martin's, Mrs. Rebecca Summers', 
West Salem, Rumsey, Greenville, Unity and Myers' Chapel. Visited sixty- 
nine families, rode 462 miles, preached thirty-three sermons and lectures 
and delivered fourteen addresses. Labored ten months on this Mission and 
resigned in order to act for the Academy. Lord, bless my labors, Isaac 
Bard. ... On Saturday, July 5th, got to Judge Broadnax's of Rus- 

Tuesday, July 15. Brother J. Williamson went with me down to Allens- 
ville, 8 miles southeast of Elkton. Here we organized the Allensville 
Church of nine members, ordained two elders, Messrs. James Bibb and John 
W. Glass. Lectured and preached on two occasions in the Baptist Church 
in Allensville and on one occasion at the school house near there. Sold 
books one day as colporteur. . . . 

This day, July 20, 1851, attended the Campbellite Church near Allens- 
ville, Todd County, because I never before had attended a meeting of that 
order. . . . 

1851, November 1st. . . . Lost my saddle-bags from my buggy on my 
way to Rumsey. Had some cholera medicine in them and some reported 
and insinuated that it was brandy, etc., etc. I explained and denounced 
publicly at Mt. Pleasant and Antioch the error and slander. 

1853, April, Thursday, 28th. Left home to-day to visit the upper part 
of the State to collect funds for our Presbyterial Academy. Staid all night 
in Greenville with E. M. Brank. 

29th, started to Russellville and on way staid all night with Rev. 
A. C. DeWitt. 30th, arrived in Russellville. . . . Stopped at Shaker- 
town . . . and then put for Bowling Green. . . . Also when at Bowl- 
ing Green I visited the tomb of the Rev. Joseph B. Lassley. His tomb of 
white limestone is on the ground where the pulpit of the old church for- 
merly stood. When he stood there and I stood there and preached, little 
did he think, or yet I, that that was to be the place of his tomb ! 

From mishap I visited the Mammoth Cave. It cannot be described. It 
is grand and awful, beautiful and picturesque. I often was brought to 


think of the unconverted and converted state of the sinner; but hell with 
its horrors was more associated in my mind. Gorin's Dome, Fat Man's 
Misery, Bottomless Pit, River Styx, Cyclop 's Tomb and the Star Chamber 
were grand and interesting objects. 

Went to Glasgow. . . . Munfordsville . . . Red Mills Church on 
Nolin Creek. . . . June 4, 1853, I went to Elizabethtown. . . . June 
7th. Left Hodgensville, the county seat of LaRue County . . . and went 
out to the Glasgow Turnpike Road, passed the high and terrible Muldrow 
Hill and arrived at my niece's, Mrs. Jonathan Rogers, in Bardstown, my 
native town. . . . The road on Muldrow Hill is a magnificent work and 
does credit to Kentucky. May God bless the spirit of improvement in our 
country so that railroads may pass through our country between all impor- 
tant points, so as to facilitate, equip and promote civilization and the Gos- 
pel. . . . Returned home. 

July 15, 1855. The Democratic Party are fraternizing or forming a 
league with two other great parties, the Abolitionists of the North and the 
Foreigners, so as to make a great and strong Party to carry the election, and 
if the American Party, who discards Abolitionism and Foreignism, does not 
prevail, what will become of our Union? 

July 30, 1855. . . . The next day I went to Henderson, dined with 
Robert Beverly and there met at dinner Gov. Powell. We had a debate 
about Popery. His arguments were the subterfuges of Papists; nothing 
solid, but declamation. 

January, 1st Sabbath and 6th day, 1856. Rode to the Brick Church, 
Preached to an attentive audience on Ps. 103-2, "Bless the Lord, my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits. ' ' In afternoon dined with Col. Wm. McNary 
and rode to Madisonville with a view to preach, but was too late ; dark when 
I got there and extremely cold. Monday, 7th, it snowed. I staid all day 
there. In the meantime got my buggy mended. January 13, 1856. Rode 
to Rumsey, crossed Pond River at the mouth on the ice. . . . 

Total of whole service from May 1, 1855, to May 1, 1856: Preached 187 
sermons and lectures, visited 270 families and received ten persons, and 
traveled 1997 miles. Amen. 

June 1, 1864. It seems that from July 21, 1861, to June 1, 1864, near 
three years, I had no commission from the Board of Missions, owing to the 
War and our Presbytery not meeting. Indeed, we can not now, or since the 
War, travel thirty miles without serious damage. . . . 

May 1, 1865. I have labored three months since December 1, 1864 (ex- 
cepting January and February). The bad weather, high water and guer- 
rillas prevented my preaching. I have labored in said churches since above 
report. There has been increased attention and large audiences. 

(1865) ... I preached a funeral sermon of a distinguished man. Dr. 
A. M. Jackson, at which there was the largest and most solemn audience I 
have ever seen in Muhlenberg County.^ ... I have concluded to spend 

2 Doctor Alfred Metcalf Jackson was born in Shelby County, January, 1816. 
After finishing a course in the Louisville Medical College he moved, about the year 
1842, to South Carrollton and there followed his profession. He soon became one 
of the best-known practitioners in Muhlenberg, Ohio, and McLean counties. In 
1849 he represented the county in the State Constitutional Convention. He died 
February 16, 1865. In 1845 he married Martha S. Fentress, daughter of John Fen- 
tress. Their children now living are Mrs. Carrie A. (Charles A.) Robertson and 
Ursulas Jackson, of Muhlenberg, John M. Jackson, of Logan County, and Honor- 
able Alfred M. Jackson, of Winfield, Kansas. 



more time at Mt. Zion and Mt. Pleasant and other vacancies, 
to do much work this winter — the Lord willing. 

The next to the last entry is 
dated December 1, 1865. The last 
entry was made six and a half 
years later, when Mr. Bard had 
reached the age of seventy-five, 
and from it 1 quote : 

As well as I recollect, I re- 
signed the care of Mt. Zion, Brick 
Church or Mt. Pleasant and South 
Carrollton churches early in 1868. 
. . . Sometimes I visited them. . . . 
My health has been so delicate 1 
could not go abroad. . . . Re- 
cently I attended Presbytery at 
Paradise and delivered three ser- 
mons (being six ministers and six 
elders). We had a pleasant time 
1872, May 17. 

Isaac Bard. 

. . I hope 


The second of Isaac Bard's documents that has been preserved is what 
he designates a "Lecture on Muhlenberg County." This is a sketch that 
seems to have been prepared for a lecture delivered .some time after 1870. 
He digresses into national history so frequently that ' ' Our County and Our 
Country" would have been a more appropriate title for his lecture. 
Much of what he records was obtained by me from other sources and woven 
into various parts of my manuscript before I learned of the existence of his 
interesting paper. Nevertheless I quote all that he gives bearing on local 
history, omitting only such statements as do not pertain directly to Muhlen- 
berg County: 


Greenville is the name of the county seat of Muhlenberg County, Ken- 
tucky, Greenville was named after Gen. Greene of the Revolutionary War, 
and Muhlenberg County was named after General Muhlenberg, another of- 
ficer of the Revolution. The gentlemen and fathers who gave the names to 
our town and county indicated their patriotic sentiments by perpetuating 
the names of Greene and Muhlenberg to time and posterity. . . . 

John Bone and Hugh Martin, elders of the Greenville Church, and An- 
drew Glenn, elder of INIt. Zion Presbyterian Church, were Revolutionary 
soldiers. They lived and died in Muhlenberg County. 

In order to get at the history of Muhlenberg County we must say a few 
words about the first families who settled in this county, the churches and 
preachers of the different sects, the lawyers and doctors, the part our citi- 
zens took in the English-Indian War, the Mexican War and our late Civil 


War, the steam navigation of Green River, our steam mills and our rail- 
road clear through the county with its terrible tax of $400,000. 

When I came here in 1823 I became acquainted with certain respectable 
families who had been, I suppose, in the county long before, namely, Judge 
Alney McLean, James Weir, Charles F. Wing, Hon. Edward Rumsey, Hon. 
Edmund Watkins, Samuel Russell, John January, John Bryant, John Roth- 
rock and John Campbell. These included nearly all the men of Greenville 
There were also some leading families in the country, namely, James Mc- 
Caleb, Maurice Moore, Maj. Jesse Gates, Jesse Murphy, Hugh Martin, Col. 
Wm. McNary, Hugh McNary, Charles Summers, Stephen Harris, Capt. 
John Smith, Robert Branscome, Andrew Glenn, John Culbertson, Thomas 
Irvin, David Rhoads, Solomon Rhoads, Wm. Martin, John Bone, Hutson 
Martin, Samuel Allison and Richard D. Reynolds. 

The Presbyterian Church was organized in Greenville at an early date. 
The Reverends Nelson, Wm. Gray and James McCready were her first 
preachers. They acted as stated supplies and missionaries. More late were 
Reverends Isaac Bard, McAfee, Templeton, Housley, and Morton, who 
acted as pastors and supplies. The Presbyterian Church was first built, 
with Isaac Bard its pastor. After the Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian 
and Baptist churches were built. The Presbyterial Male Academy and Fe- 
male Collegiate School were built by Presbyterians, old school. 

The first Baptist churches in Muhlenberg were Hazel Creek, Bethel and 
Unity; Reverends Benjamin Tolbert, Daring Alleock and John Bowling 
were their first preachers. They were pious, liberal, good men; evangelical 
and eloquent, the most so of any I ever heard to have so little education. It 
was remarkable what good language they used. . . . But all the helps of 
their native genius and piety did not supersede Education, for if they had 
had it they would have shone out still brighter and as stars of the first 

The first circuit court judges of our county were Judge Broadnax and 
Judge McLean. They were both eminent men, able in the law and stood 
high as jurists. Charles F. Wing and Jesse H. Reno were our first county 
clerks; the former acted in that capacity some fifty years. Both stood high 
in office and preserved an untarnished reputation. Dr. Robert McLean and 
Dr. Thomas Pollard were our first doctors. After them came Dr. W. H. 
Yost. All of them were very respectable ; so much so that I cannot add 
laurels to their fame. . . . 

. . . These were the causes of the last British War . . . and this 
was why Judge McLean, Ephraim Brank, Edward Jarvis, Mike Severs, 
Joseph McCown, John Shelton, Isaiah Hancock and others of Muhlenberg 
fought the British. It is said that Ephraim Brank and Edward Jarvia 
mounted the breastworks and there fired into the British army, as they 
marched up, as fast as their friends could load the rifles for them. I see it 
stated lately in a highly respectable paper that Mr. Brank brought down 
several British officers in their march up to our breastworks at the battle 
below New Orleans. 

During our Civil War or war of four years, when brother was arrayed 
against brother. North against South, in bloody conflict, the citizens of 
Muhlenberg County were honestly divided and took sides, and now we 
stand as parties Radicals and Democrats. . . . The old question is a by- 
gone thing and the constitution is the umpire. . . . 

The main staples or commodities of Muhlenberg County are corn, wheat, 
tobacco and pork. In proportion to our soil and climate I do not know 


that any of our neighbors do excel us. We are certainly capable of uiaking 
hay, another important staple, as we have the best bottom lands to suit the 
purpose ; and as our hills get more worn and washed off, for want of grass, 
our farmers will have to betake themselves to the bottom lands to feed their 
stock and save half their corn. But what does all our coal lands and staples 
amount to when we have been beguiled and are about to be forced to pay 
$400,000.00 and interest? 

Whisky was once a staple of this county. Thousands of bushels of corn 
and thousands of bushels of apples and peaches have been used to make 
whisky and brandy. . . . But, I forbear. I have said more about bust- 
head whisky as a "filthy lucre" than 1 intended. I am talking to-day on 
the history and the future of Muhlenberg County. 

I would hereby call your attention to two very important cardinal laws 
that ought to be amended. They now form part of our history. I mean, 
fellow-citizens, the District School I^aws and the Law of Suffrage. . . . 

When parents are so ignorant, stupid and criminal that they will not or 
do not send their children to school when the teacher or tuition is paid by 
the State, we positively advise as a remedy that the history of Muhlenberg 
may be disgraced no longer, that such parents and guardians be fined an 
amount equal to what their tuition would have been by the State. 

The Law of Suffrage in these United States ought certainly be so 
amended that no man ought to be allowed to vote who cannot read and 
write the English language. . . . 

The day will come in the Millennium, not far away, when the Jews and 
jail the Gentile nations of all the earth will be so many republics. When 
jthat bright day comes the pillars of those republics will not be built on Ig- 
norance and Vice. No, those republics will be built, so to speak, figur- 
atively, on the Granite Rocks of Virtue, Intelligence, the Bible and 
Christianity. . . . 

Isaac Bard. 



SOME of the pioneers of Muhlenberg were men and women of education 
and refinement ; some were not ; others occupied an intermediate 
position. All, however, with very few exceptions, were respectable 
people. The sons and daughters of educated and well-bred parents, 
of course, had an advantage over those children whose parents, owing to a 
lack of education or to a lack of hereditary instincts of refinement, were 
not qualified to teach their offspring better manners than they themselves 
possessed. Many of those who were members of such families acquired 
some polish through their association with those whose education and home 
training were of a higher order. On the other hand, those who continued to 
associate with their moral and intellectual inferiors drifted to a lower level. 
Those who, during their leisure time, §ought the companionship of good 
books and mingled with honest and progressive people rapidly became citi- 
zens for whom the community had the greatest respect. Then, as now, a 
man was judged by the company he kept. 

Representatives of some of the better pioneer families, owing to a lack of 
education, deteriorated in the course of a generation or two, but compara- 
tively few such sons or daughters ever lost all traces of their better blood. 
One citizen, now past seventy-five, informs me that he did not learn to read 
or write until after he was married. He is the son of a religious man, whose 
education was limited, but the grandson of a pioneer whose education, judg- 
ing from all reports and from documentary evidence, was of a superior 
order. Each of the children of this old man spent about six years in a coun- 
try school, and his grandchildren attended school until they reached the age 
of about eighteen. Thus, in the course of five generations, this family went 
down the hill of education for a half century, and in about an equal length 
of time — from 1850 to 1900 — climbed back to the starting point. Religion 
held a firm and constant grip on each generation, but not until education 
again took hold did the family return to its original plane. Commenting on 
the essentials of a happy life, this grandson of a pioneer said to me: 

"I have noticed, again and again, that from 'shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves' 
is often a matter of only three generations, and that from silk stockings back 
to silk stockings is usually a matter of at least five generations. In my 
opinion there are three essentials to a happy life. From the days of my 
youth and down to the present, I have heard the preachers preach on the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and I have always believed in the Trinity. 



But 1 must say my father and my grandfather failed to realize that there 
is a trinity in the right way of living, and that unless each part is practiced 
in about equal proportions, life is bound to be a failure. This is the trinity 
of Learning, Labor, and Love of the Lord. My labor has given me a com- 
fortable home on earth, and my religion, I feel, has prepared me for the 
next world, but my life has been a failure for want of education. From as 
far back as I can remember, and down to the day of her death, my mother 
sang a song I shall never forget. It went like this : 

j^ ; r ''wmKiy^ .hib-. !r ? - ' • i 



;;^- ; ■ ^''^-fm^ 


«; " 


t ^.%j,iMmM^,i. 

^:'W g If ^ 

; >-. 

^^^V:Kp> ljf'~~^"l% ' ^"'^ kM^M^^^^^^^^^ttm^^^" 


^HB. -^^ m 

Upper Pond Creek country, in 1905 

'Tis religion that can give 
Sweetest pleasures while we live ; 
'Tis religion must supply 
Solid comfort when we die. 

After death its joys will be 
Lasting as eternity ! 
Be the living God our friend. 
Then our bliss shall never end. 

"It is a beautiful hymn, but if I could write I would weave into this old 
song education and work along with religion, and make this trinity the 
source of the 'sweetest pleasures while we live.' " 

It is not my purpose to argue the question as to whether "Learning, 
Labor, and Love of the Lord" are the three essentials of a happy life. How- 



ever, it is an indisputable fact that where any one or any two of these essen- 
tials existed without the others — that is, where the "trinity" was incom- 
plete — life to the citizen of Muhlenberg in the Nineteenth Century was 
seemingl}^ a failure. When all three were missing, life was a deplorable 
failure. Such men as "didn't have no larnin'," "done a heap of nothin'," 
and went to church "just to devil the preacher," were, fortunately, few. 

It was the lack of better education and not the lack of sincere religion 
and honest occupation that began to tell on a number of the citizens who 

were born in the county 
during the first half of the 
last century. During that 
same period some of the 
families living in various 
sections sent their children 
to Lexington, Danville, and 
other cities to be educated. 
Among such pioneer fam- 
ilies as the Allisons, Bells, 
Campbells, Eaves, McLeans, 
McNarys, Randolphs, Renos, 
Russells, Shorts, Weirs, 
Wickliffes, and Worthing- 
tons were found some of the 
best educated people in the 
county. Their training in- 
directly helped to educate 
many of the local people with whom they came in contact but who were not 
in position to attend any but local schools. 

In the meantime, the schoolhouses throughout the county were open only 
a few months each year. A short time after G-reenville was founded the 
pioneers built a one-story, two-roomed brick schoolhouse on the east side of 
Cherry Street north of Main Cross Street. This house was used many years, 
both as a schoolhouse and as a place of worship. It was usually kno\\Ta as 
the Greenville Academy, but. is sometimes referred to as the Greenville Sem- 
inary. It was established by an act of the Legislature approved January 
18, 1810. For many years it was used as a district school and later also as 
a county school, it being a higher graded school than any other in the 
county. It served as a district schoolhouse until about 1890, when it was 
torn down and another building secured elsewhere for that purpose. M. J. 
Roark taught school in the old house for a number of years, including the 
early sixties. 

None of the schools in Muhlenberg Countj' went beyond primary work 
until about 1850, when post-primary classes were first taught by Professor 
William Lewis Green, who is regarded as the first teacher of higher educa- 
tion in the county. During the course of the second half of the last century 
five colleges were organized, all of which have since passed out of existence. 
Professor Green's school, the Greenville Female Academy, although started 
in the fall of 1850, was not established by an act of the Legislature until 

The Shaver or Philadelphia Schoolhouse 

On Greenville and Rumsey Road — one of the few log 

schoolhouses now in the county 



February 11, 1854. The Presbyterial Academy of Greenville was estab- 
lished by an act approved January 7, 1852. The Greenville College, which 
was practically the successor of the Female Academy, was started in 1880 
by Professor E. W. Hall, who for a few years during the sixties had taught 
a private school in Greenville. The South Carrollton Male and Female In- 
stitute, which in 1886 became known as the West Kentucky Classical and 
Normal College, was established by an act approved February 23, 1874. 
The Bremen College and Ferryman Male and Female Academy was incor- 
porated April 3, 1890. 


Formerly Presbyterial Academy Building 

R. T. Martin, writing about the early history of higher education in 
Greenville, says: 

"During the year 1850, one William L. Green began the establishment 
of what was called the Greenville Female Academy. He built houses upon 
a site perhaps not excelled anywhere in the State for beauty and attractive- 
ness. South of the brick study hall, which faced College Street, he erected 
a large frame dormitory and east of it a brick cottage, all shaded by large 
forest trees. Professor Green married Susan I\I. Weir, daughter of pioneer 
James Weir. He was a man of high intellectual attainments, a Presbyte- 
rian preacher and a fine sermonizer. The whole tenor of his life seemed 
based and centered upon education. He spent a fortune of $50,000 for the 
betterment of education in Greenville and IMuhlenberg County. He not 
only erected the buildings now owned by the Greenville School District, but 



he also assisted greatly in building other schoolhouses in different parts of 
the county. 

"Professor Green organized the Greenville Female Academy under the 
very best discipline and regulations and supplied it with competent 
teachers, some of whom came from the East. He offered all the necessary 
comforts required of a good school. He soon had a large attendance of 
young lady students from different parts of the State, and his Academy 

rapidly gained a widespread reputa- 
tion. But after a few years his means 
failed him, and he was unable to fur- 
ther conduct the school successfully. 
So, after having spent his time and 
money in procuring educational ad- 
vantages for his town and county, 
he disposed of his school property to 
the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church, left the State a poor man, 
and never returned. He spent a long, 
eventful, and useful life in other 
States. 1 

"When, about 1858, the Cumber- 
land Presbyterian Church came into 
possession of Professor Green's Acad- 
emy, they continued the school under 
the same discipline and regulations 
and employed many of the teachers 
who had served under him. For the 
first few years this institution was 
placed under the care of Miss Susan M. Anthony and Miss Abbott, both ex- 
perienced educators. It was next placed under the superintendency of 
William C. McNary, who in turn was succeeded by Reverend J. C. Bowden, 
William C. McNary, Reverend W. L. Casky, Reverend James Morton, and 
Reverend Azel Freeman, shortly after which, or about 1878, the property 
was purchased by Reverend AV. L. Caskj'', who conducted the college a few 
years and in 1880 sold the property to Professor E. W. Hall, of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church. Thus ended the life of the Greenville Female 
Academy, sometimes called the Greenville Female Collegiate Institute or 
Greenville Female College, and thus also began a new school conducted by 
Professor and Mrs. Hall. 


1 Professor William Lewis Green was born near Danville, Kentucky, in 1825. 
After being graduated from Centre College he continued his education in the East 
and in 1850 came to Greenville, where during his stay of more than six years he 
devoted his time and all his money to higher education in Muhlenberg. He was 
the first man in the county to establish a post-primary school. After leaving 
Greenville he and his wife resumed educational work in Wisconsin. He was a 
widely known Presbyterian minister, an orator and an exceedingly well-informed 
man. After preaching in Illinois and Kansas for a few years, he returned to Wis- 
consin in 1882 and established a Presbyterian school at Poyenette, of which insti- 
tution he had charge up to about the time of his death, July 28, 1903. 



"About the time Professor Green established the Greenville Female 
Academy he, together with others, urged the importance of establishing a 
male school. So, in the earlj' fifties, the Presbyterians, with outside help, 
erected a two-story brick building on the north end of Cherry Street, near 
a fine spring. This was called the Presbyterial Academy of Greenville. It 
was first placed under the charge of Professor John Donaldson, who con- 
ducted it until 1856, when Professor James K. Patterson became president 
and was assisted in his work by his 
brother, William Patterson. The 
Pattersons were young men of fine 
education and were gifted educa- 
tors. They soon established a 
school of considerable reputation. 
Young men, not only from Muh- 
lenberg and adjoining counties but 
from many other parts of the 
State, came to Greenville to attend 
the Patterson school. The Acad- 
emy grew rapidly until the Civil 
War broke out, when many of its 
students joined the army and the 
school closed. Professor James K. 
Patterson married Luci'lia Wing, 
daughter of Charles Fox Wing. 
After the Presbyterial Academy 
closed the Pattersons continued 
their educational careers elsewhere, 
and Professor James K. became 
one of the most celebrated educa- 
tors in Kentucky. "- 

In 1864 Professor and Mrs. 
E. W. Hall, of New York State, 

were employed by some of the citizens of Greenville to teach a school in the 
old Presbyterial Academy building. They taught there until 1866. During 
the two years following they conducted a school in a building on Main 
Street known as Temperance Hall. Mr. and Mrs. Hall were succeeded in 
the old Presbyterial Academy building by Professors Crow, Hageman, 
'Flaherty, and Helm, after which, about 1878, the school was discontinued 
and the place became the property of Doctor T. J. Slaton, who in 1885 sold 


2 Professor James K. Patterson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, March 26, 1833. 
He came to America in 1842 and in 1856 was graduated from Hanover College, In- 
diana. From 1856 to 1859 he was at the head of the Greenville Presbyterial Acad- 
emy, in which school he was succeeded as principal by his brothers William K. and 
Andrew M. Patterson. He taught in Stewart College, Clarksville, Tennessee, from 
1859 to 1861, and from 1861 to 1865 was principal of Transylvania High School, 
Lexington. He was Professor of History and Latin in the Agricultural and Me- 
chanical College, Lexington, from 1865 to 1869, and President of the State Univer- 
sity from 1869 to 1910. In 1910 he retired from the educational world, after an 
active career of more than half a century devoted to higher education. 



it to R. T. Martin and D. E. Rhoads, by whom the building was used as a 
tobacco manufacturing establishment for two years. In 1887 it was sold to 
the Greenville School District and used for school purposes a number of 
years. It was next purchased by a few citizens who lived in the immediate 
neighborhood. In 1904 it was bought by H. C. Lewis, who remodeled the 
building and now occupies it as a residence. 

In 1880 Professor and Mrs. Hall returned to Greenville and, as stated 
above by Mr. Martin, bought the Greenville Academy property. They es- 

From a wood-cut made in 1881 

tablished the Greenville Ladies' College and the Greenville College for 
Young Men, two separate schools under one administration. 

The Halls were assisted by a good faculty, among their teachers being 
Professor W. S. Hall, a brother of Professor E. W. Hall. Their college 
opened in September, 1880, and soon gained a wide reputation for the effi- 
ciency of its management and the thoroughness of its courses. In Febru- 
ary, 1889, after a very brief illness. Professor Hall died of pneumonia. His 
widow, Mrs. Sarah T. Hall, continued the schools, acting as President for 
eight years. She was assisted by her son. Professor Elmer T. Hall, and a 
competent faculty. In 1897 Mrs. Hall retired from school work and sold 
her college property to the Greenville School District, since which time it 
has been used for public school purposes. The outside walls of the old 
frame dormitory were stuccoed and the entire building remodeled and; 
equipped in modern style. ^ 

3 The Reverend Edwin Walter Hall was born in Jefferson County, New York^ 
March 4, 1838, and died in Greenville February 27, 1889. He was graduated from 
Genesee College (now Syracuse University) in 1863, and shortly after received the 
degree of A. M. from his alma mater and also from Wesleyan University, Middle- 
town, Connecticut. In August, 1863, he married Miss Sarah D. Trowbridge, of 



About six years before Professor and Mrs. Hall returned to Greenville, 
Professor Wayland Alexander established a college in South Carrollton, 
which was conducted for about twenty years. One of the frame buildings 
erected by Professor Alexander is now used as the South Carrollton public 
school. When the South Carrollton Male and Female Institute was char- 
tered in 1874, the citizens of South Carrollton were enthusiastic about their 
new venture. It brought many young men and women to the town, and the 
place seemed destined to become the 
Athens of the Green River country. 
Its course of studies was of a high or- 
der. Graduates were given license to 
teach in any of the public schools in 
Kentucky without passing an exami- 
nation before the State board or the 
superintendent of public schools of 
the county in which they had been 
chosen to teach. When the Institute 
was incorporated in 1874, many un- 
limited scholarships were sold at the 
rate of three hundred dollars each. 
good for an indefinite period and 
transferable. A number of men in- 
vested in these scholarships and sold 
them to students at the rate of about 
forty-five dollars a year, thus realiz- 
ing fifteen per cent on the invest- 

The students who attended this 
school during its early career received 

the benefit of all the capital derived from the paid-up scholarships, but in 
the course of a few years all the money derived from the sale of these schol- 
arships was used to pay teachers' salaries, and the scholarships that had 
been sold became the source of obligations involving expense which the In- 
stitute had made no provision to meet. Financial aid was occasionally 
given, and the school was thus temporarily revived. This state of its finan- 

EDWIN W. HALL, 1888 

Lima, New York, who was also educated at Genesee College. They taught to- 
gether in the Watertown High School, New York, until 1864, when they went to 
Greenville to teach. In 1869 they removed to Missouri, where Professor Hall had 
accepted the position of President of Macon College. A few years later he became 
President of Craddock College, Quincy, Illinois. In 1878 he was placed at the head 
of Cazenovia Seminary, one of the oldest schools in Central New York. In 1880, at 
the solicitation of many old friends and former students, he returned to Green- 
ville, where he established a college for young ladies and one for young men, and 
continued as their President up to the time of his death. Though his special work 
was that of an educator, he was nevertheless considered one of the best preachers 
in the Louisville Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which 
body he was an honorary member. One of his old pupils said of him: "Professor 
Hall did much toward the intellectual improvement of Greenville and the sur- 
rounding county. He did as much, if not more, for the morality of Greenville than 
any other man." 



cial affairs, coupled with increasing competition, resulted in the closing of 
the college. 

By an act of the Legislature approved April 7, 1886, the name of the 
Institute was changed to the West Kentucky Classical and Normal College. 
However, it was usually called the West Kentucky College. With the ex- 
ception of a few years, the place was constantly under the charge of Profes- 
sor Alexander. Notwithstanding its financial and other difficulties, the en- 
rollment often reached two hundred. Its popularity was due greatly to the 


Formerly one of the West Kentucky College Buildings 

reputation of Professor Alexander, whose scholarly attainments and ability 
as an instructor were well known, and to the fact that he always employed 
well-trained college men and women for instructors."* 

The Bremen College and Perryman IVIale and Female Academy was 
opened September 9, 1889, with Milton T. Brown as President. The first 
trustees were Joseph A. Shaver, John J. Humphrey, Peter Shaver, Rev- 
erend John B. Perryman, and Joseph Whitmer. The object of the school 
was to offer a preparatory course to those intending to enter the ministry 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also to give a general education to 
any others who wished to take advantage of the scholarships. 

Reverend John B. Perryman, an Eastern man, was the original pro- 
moter of the school. He devised a scheme whereby scholarships were sold 
to such persons as wished to buy them without using them and thus con- 

^ Professor Wayland Alexander was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, June 
26, 1889. He taught his first school at Sacramento, McLean County, in 1858, and 
fifteen years later became identified with educational work in Muhlenberg. He, 
also taught in Hartford and Owensboro. During his many active years he was one 
of the best-known educators in Western Kentucky. He died in Hartford, Ohio 
County. August 28, 1911. 




Formerly the College Dormitory 


tribute a specified amount toward the cause, and to such prospective stu- 
dents as might desire to procure scholarships with the expectation of at- 
tending school during part or all of the time specified in the contract. 

Perpetual scholarships were sold for one hundred dollars each, eight- 
year scholarships for seventy-five dollars each, and four-year scholarships 
for fifty dollars each. Warranty deeds were issued for the paid scholar- 
ships which expired four or eight years from date, or never, as the case 
might be. In this way three thousand dollars was raised the first year, but 




. ft • 




A.^ •^.jmtm-'^^simtii'^ 

Formerly the College Building. 

this amount was not sufficient to meet the teachers' salaries and to pay 
Joseph A. Shaver for erecting the new building. Although the time and 
price of scholarships was changed, and although Mrs. Fannie Speed, of 
Louisville, and a number of local citizens, contributed much toward the 
support of the institution, the trustees, for lack of funds, were obliged to 
discontinue the school in the spring of 1900, since which time the college 
building has been used for a public school. Among the teachers were: Pro- 
fessor J. C. M, Ellenberger of Pennsylvania, Professor Peter G. Shaver of 
Bremen, and Professors Brown, Gordon, and Carhart. From fifty to one 
hundred students attended the school every year, over half of whom lived 
in Muhlenberg County. 

Thus, from 1850 to 1900, five colleges were opened and closed in Muhlen- 
berg. At the time these institutions were in progress, the best public 
schools in the county were not much above what is now a common graded 
school. These five colleges not only included many of the post-primary 
studies in their courses, but also a number of primary studies that are to- 
day confined to primary schools. 



Many of the country schools are now better supplied with desks, charts, 
and libraries than were some of the town schools during the time of the col- 
leges. There are at present one hundred and two school buildings in Muh- 
lenberg, in which one hundred and twenty-six teachers are employed to teach 
the nine thousand children in the county, of whom about sixty-eight hun- 
dred are enrolled. Six towns have graded schools : Central City, Greenville, 
Drakesboro, South Carrollton, Dunmor, and Bremen. There are high 
schools at Central City, Greenville, Drakesboro, and South Carrollton, with 


a total attendance of one hundred and sixty-eight pupils. Any one who now is 
graduated from any Muhlenberg County high school receives an education 
equal to any that was given by the minor colleges of fifty or even twenty- 
five years ago. 

The schools in the county are progressing with the times. Modern 
methods have been introduced, and in most instances new and well-equipped 
houses are used. Even the five or six old log schoolhouses still occupied are 
equipped with comparatively modern furniture. That the children them- 
selves are becoming more and more interested in their schools and school 
work was manifested on November 15, 1912, when Muhlenberg held its first 
School Fair and Corn Show. Six thousand people, of whom two thousand 
were school children, came to Greenville that day to see the exhibit of 
drawings, paintings, needlework, carvings, inventions, etc., made by the 
school children who were attending the common, the graded, and the high 
schools in the county. 


A IRDRIE and its furnace were built in 1855 by R. S. C. A. Alexan- 
/ \ der, and since that time it has been one of the most interesting 
X~jL, spots along Green River. General Don Carlos Buell made it his 
home in 1866, and continued to live there until his death in 1898. 
In the course of years Airdrie's twenty-five or more frame houses have all 
been abandoned. The Deserted Village became a demolished village, and 
to-day little is left to mark the site of this once-flourishing town. No trace 
of the buildings that stood on Airdrie Hill can now be found. Some of the 
houses were carried off in the shape of lumber, others tumbled down years 
ago and rotted away. The Buell residence, erected by William McLean 
many years before Airdrie was started, was not only the largest and oldest 
residence in the place but was also the last to pass away. It burned in 1907. 
This historic mansion stood in a beautiful park near the top of Airdrie Hill, 
on which the town was built. The landscape viewed from this spot, up and 
down Green River and across the stream and overlooking the farms and for- 
ests in Ohio County, is an unusually beautiful one. This riverside park, so 
well kept by General Buell during his lifetime, is now almost a jungle. The 
winding paths are rampant with ivy and honeysuckle, the foot-bridges are 
tottering, and what was once a shaded lawn is now overgrown with wild 
weeds and run-wild shrubbery. 

On the narrow strip of land between the water's edge and the top of the 
hill, and running parallel with the river, are now found the only evidences 
of the old iron works and old mines. Among the cedars and sycamores are 
the ruins of a large brick chimney, and near it lie two rusty boilers. Here 
and there, protruding from the ground, can be seen traces of old stone walls 
that remind one more of the work of prehistoric mound-builders than of a 
foundation laid by mill-builders. Two of the old shafts look like long- 
abandoned wells, and another like a mere hole in the ground. The opening 
on the hillside leading into the abandoned drift mine, known as the "Mc- 
Lean Old Bank," looks like the entrance to a cave that has never been 

The stack of the furnace still stands, a majestic old pile, fifty-five feet 
or more in height. But the days of this picturesque landmark are evidently 
numbered. Near the stack is the Stone House, whose massive walls seem 
able to defy storm and sunshine for many years to come. Thi§ house, used 
in former times for machinery, is a sandstone structure three stories high, 
fifty by twenty feet. The wooden floors and window frames have long ago 
fallen away. This fortlike building was at one time covered with a slate 
roof, which was ruined by visitors throwing rocks on it from the top of the 



bluff at the foot of which the house stands. The shingle roof placed on it 
by General Buell has since met with the same fate. About half-way up the 
wall of the Stone House, between two windows, the thoughtful architect 
placed a large stone bearing the inscription, "ATRDRIE, 1855." 

The hillside stone steps leading from a point just beyond the Stone 
House to the top of Airdrie Hill, where the town stood, are most picturesque, 
Virginia creeper has found its way up the solid stone foundation, and the 
drooping branches of the nearby trees shade the beds of heavy moss and 


clusters of clinging ferns. The sixty stone steps, although without railing, 
can still be climbed in safety. 

The stack of the old furnace, together with the Stone House and the 
stone steps, as they stand to-day (about fifty yards from the river), sug- 
gest a bygone time with which one's imagination could associate any long- 
past age in the world's history, if the "1855" chiseled deep into its ancient 
walls did not keep the mind from wandering back further. 

Such, as I have tried to describe it, is the Airdrie of to-day. Although 
Airdrie 's history does not begin until 1855, the traditions of that neighbor- 
hood go back to the end of the Eighteenth Century. Airdrie Hill is about 
one mile below Paradise. Paradise is one of the oldest places in the county, 
and is built on land first settled by pioneer Leonard Stum (or Stom), Who 
opened up a farm and with his sons Jacob and Henry conducted the first 
store where the town now stands. Their boat landing was for many years 
known as Stum's Landing, and it is very probable that before their death, 
along in the '40s, the name of the settlement was changed to Paradise. 

Jacob Stum, it is said, was ' ' long, lean and lank, ' ' weighed only seventy 
pounds, and measured about six feet in height. He was never known to be 
ill but once. On that occasion, while confined to his room with "the slow 
fever," a new doctor, who was unacquainted in the neighborhood, was sum- 


moned to his bedside. The physician had never seen his patient "stand on 
his pegs," so tradition says, nor had he ever heard of his feathery weight. 
When, therefore, he stepped into Jacob's room he asked to be shown the 
sick man. At the sight of the "skin and bones" the frightened doctor 
rushed from the house, saying Jacob was even less mortal than a living 
skeleton. He informed the family that the patient, although "able to sit 
up and eat a snack," must have died some months ago, but owing to the ab- 
sence of flesh the worms made no attack on him, and that the voice they 
heard was the voice of Jacob's spirit "talking through his hide." Never- 
theless, the sick man recovered from the attack of typhoid fever and, says 
tradition, continued to "play hookey from the graveyard" for many years. 

His brother Henry, on the other hand, was a man of normal propor- 
tions, but never enjoyed the best of health. Both were upright and highly 
respected men and lived to a ripe old age, and are now represented in the 
county by many descendants. Pioneer Leonard Stum was the father of 
Henry, Jacob, and George Stum, Mrs. Judith (Aaron) Smith, and Mrs. 
Frank Kirtley. 

Matthew or INIattheis Hamm was among the early settlers who lived near 
Pond Creek, in the Paradise country. He came to ^Mulilenberg from North 
Carolina in 1797, accompanied by his wife and what was then their only 
child, and also by his mother, Barbara Hamm, who died three years later. 
He was a well-to-do farmer and at times served his community as a 
preacher. The German Bible he brought with him is now the property of 
J. Luther Hamm, son of Reverend Jacob Hamm. Unfortunately, tlie title 
page of this old and heavily bound volume is among the few leaves that 
have disappeared, and the time and place of its publication are unknown. 

In 1802, when pioneer Peter Shull (or Scholl) came to Paradise from 
Pennsylvania, he found no one living in the immediate vicinity but the 
Stum families. Peter's father served seven years in the Revolutionary 
War; Peter himself served two years in the War of 1812, and Peter's son, 
E. E. C. Shull, the well-known hotel-keeper at Paradise, served four years 
as a Federal soldier in the Civil War, making a total of thirteen years of 
active military service in three generations of Shulls. 

Among other first-comers in this neighborhood were three of the sons of 
Peter Smith, of North Carolina — Aaron, James, and Elias Smith, who have 
many descendants in Ohio and Muhlenberg counties. William H. Smith, 
the old Federal soldier, is a grandson of Aaron and Judith (Stum) Smith. 
Isaac Ilunsaeker and Joseph Heck were early settlers there. 

Five members of the Yonts (or Yontz) family came to the Paradise 
country from North Carolina about 1812 and became well known in ]\Iuhlen- 
berg County. They were Philip, Rudolph, and Lawrence Yonts, Elizabeth, 
who married William Heltsley, and Susan, who married JNIichael Heltsley. 
All of them settled near the home of Eli Smith, who was a kinsman of the 
Elias Smith just referred to. 

Abraham Roll, although not one of the earliest settlers in the Paradise 
country, was one of the most influential men in that section. He was born 
in Virginia May 27, 1798, came to Muhlenberg from Hardin County in 
1826, and died on his farm, near Paradise, January 30, 1838. He was the 



father of :\rrs. Elizabeth (Philip) Heltsley, David B., Michael F., and Thos. 
J. Roll, Mrs. Sally Ann (A. L.) Depoyster, and JVIrs. Tiney (Henry) Moore. 
None of the first-comers in the Paradise country were better known than 
Oliver Cromwell Vanlandingham, sr., who in his day was one of the most 
polished and liberal self-made men of the county. He was born in North- 
umberland County, Virginia, in 1784. While still a small boy he, with his 
parents and his sister Elizabeth, left Virginia for ^Muhlenberg. The father 
died on the way. After burying 
her husband Mrs. Vanlandingham 
and the other members of the 
party resumed their trip and 
finally arrived near Paradise, 
where she procured some land. 
There she and her two children 
worked hard and soon placed 
themselves in comfortable circum- 
stances. She was a well-educated 
woman, and up to about the time 
her children were married devoted 
practically all her evenings to their 
education. Her daughter Eliza- 
beth married Samuel Weir, a 
prominent farmer, brother of pio- 
neer James Weir. Her son, 0. C. 
Vanlandingham, sr., was for a few 
years associated in the mercantile 
business with pioneer James Weir. 
After he and Weir dissolved part- 
nership he made a number of trips 
to New Orleans, where he sold the 
hides and produce he bought in tlie 

eastern part of the county. In 1823 he married Mary A. Drake, of Louis- 
iana, and shortly after removed to Shawneetown, Illinois. In the meantime 
he retained the property he owned in Muhlenberg, including the place on 
which he had erected a large log dwelling. His wife, during one of their 
many visits to Muhlenberg, died on their farm near Paradise, December 22, 
1844. In 1845 he and his five children, including 0. C. Vanlandingham, jr., 
moved to Baton Rouge, where he had bought a large plantation. There he 
married Amelia Blount, of Louisiana. He died on this plantation October 
2, 1856, aged seventy-two. His remains were brought to Kentucky and 
buried by the side of his first wife, near what he always called his "old 
Muhlenberg home." 

In 1847 his eldest son, 0. C. Vanlandingham, jr., returned to Muhlen- 
berg and married Margaret J. Weir, daughter of Samuel M. Weir. He re- 
mained in the county for ten years, looking after his father's property. In 
1857, after the death of his father, he moved to Louisiana to take charge of 
the Vanlandingham plantation. At the breaking out of the Civil War he 
became a member of a Confederate cavalry regiment and served during the 

o. c. 

About 1850 



He was a son 
a pioneer of 

greater part of the war. During the war practically everything on the 
Louisiana plantation was burned or ruined and the hundred or more slaves 
owned by the Vanlandinghams were set free, leaving nothing of the great 
estate but the ground. About the year 1868 he and his family returned to 
their farm near Paradise, where he died in 1905. lie owned a large library, 
and was regarded as one of tlie best-read men in the county. 0. C. Van- 
landingham, jr., and his wife Avere the parents of two daughters and six 
sons, all of whom live in the Paradise country, among them being Samuel P. 
and Oliver C. A'^anlandingham, the two well-known farmers. 

Among the influential men who began an active career in the Paradise 
country during the second quarter of the last century was George W. 

Haden, who was born in Maryland 
December 6, 1813. 
of Joseph Haden, 
Kentucky, who at the time of the 
birth of his son was temporarily 
located in Hagerstown, Maryland. 
His parents made the return trip 
west over the mountains and 
through Kentucky on horseback, 
carrying their little son George 
with them. George W. Haden 's 
mill was the first saw mill erected 
in the vicinity of Paradise. After 
running a horse-power ''upright 
saw" or "sash saw" for a number 
of years he put in a circular saw 
run by steam, the second of its 
kind in the county. His mill busi- 
ness was well established when 
Alexander began building Airdrie 
He sawed all the lumber used in 
the erection of its houses. He also 
built the first flat-boats used by the 
various coal operators who mined at Airdrie before the arrival of Alexan- 
der. Mr. Haden lived on his large farm east of Drakesboro, and for almost 
a half century was connected with various saw mills in Muhlenberg. He 
was a Southern sympathizer, and made many sacrifices for the Lost Cause. 
Mr. and Mrs. Haden were the parents of Joseph C. Haden, Mrs. Amanad 
(Doctor J. G.) Bohannon, and Roy Haden. Mr. Haden died in Greenville 
November 10, 1904. 

The land on which the town of Airdrie was later built was for a short 
time the property of Judge Alney McLean. His son, William McLean, in 
the latter part of the '30s, began, near the building once occupied by his 
father, the house afterward known as the Alexander house and which later 
became the Buell house. William McLean was the eldest son of Judge 
Alney McLean, and was the first, so it is said, to work the coal around Air- 
drie. After the death of his father in 1841 he moved his mother and her 




children from Greenville to his new residence. While the McLean family 
was living here William McLean married. A few years later he and his 
wife moved South, but frequently returned to visit their old home. In the 
meantime the coal mine opened by him was worked by William Duncan, of 
Bedford, Indiana, and J. W. Newlan, who were succeeded by Thomas Car- 
son, of Bowling Green, who was probably the last to work the McLean coal 
bank before the arrival of Alexander. 

In those days steamboats plied on Green River between Bowling Green 
and Louisville. None ever passed the McLean house without a salute. It 
was from the McLean landing that many Greenville and other Muhlenberg 
people took passage. What was, in 1846, the newest and finest boat on 
Green River was named "Lucy Wing," in honor of the daughter of Charles 
Fox Wing. Captain Culiver was always in charge of this boat. It is said 
he was a great admirer of "Poems by Amelia," and that he presented many 
of his passengers with copies of that work. This was a book published in 
1845 by Amelia Welby, a popular Ohio poetess of that time, whose writings 
were exploited by George D. Prentice. 

Airdrie derives its name from a small city of the same name in Scotland, 
situated between Edinburg and Glasgow. It is the old home of the titled 
Alexanders. Robert Sproul Crawford Aitcheson Alexander, the founder of 
Airdrie in Muhlenberg, was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1819. He 
was a son of Honorable Robert 
Alexander and a grandson of Sir 
William Alexander and his wife, 
who was a Miss Aitcheson, of the 
House of Airdrie, Scotland. The 
Honorable Robert's eldest brother 
was a bachelor and was named, 
like their father, William; he suc- 
ceeded to the title. This Sir Wil- 
liam, the bachelor, promised his 
brother Robert, then living in the 
Bluegrass region of Kentucky, to 
educate his oldest son Robert and 
let him succeed to the title and es- 
tate if he would send him over to 
Scotland for that purpose. This 
was done, and after Sir AVilliam's 
death young Robert fell heir to 
the estate. Some years after the 
death of his uncle he decided to 
return to America in order to be 
near his brother and sisters (Alex- 
ander John Alexander, Mrs. J. B. Waller, and Mrs. H. C. Deeds). Besides, 
his supply of Black Band iron ore in Scotland was about exhausted. He 
made a search for similar ore in America through his geologists, Charles 
Hendrie, sr,, and his son Alexander Hendrie, who discovered the existence 
of a desirable ore, in 1851, first near the abandoned Buckner Furnace and 




after some 
started up 
arriving at 
Scotland, ' ' 

then near Paradise. Alexander bought about seventeen thousand acres of 
land in ^luhlenberg, all of which with the exception of the Buckner Furnace 
lay along Green River. 

Alexander believed the Scotch M^ere the most competent iron-workers in 
the world, and so, during the latter part of 1854, he brought many of his 
former employes and their families to his new Airdrie. A special ship, it is 

said, was chartered for the trip. 
It required six weeks for their sail- 
ing-vessel to cross the ocean. Tra- 
dition has it that their boat had a 
collision with a waterlogged boat, 
which resulted in changing their 
course to such an extent that they 
landed at New York instead of 
Philadelphia. From Pittsburgh 
they came down the Ohio, and 
delay in Louisville 
Green River. Upon 
Airdrie, their ' ' New 
they immediately set 
to work finishing the houses begun 
in the new town by Alexander 
Hendrie and a number of local 
masons and carpenters, among 
whom were Alfred Johnson and 
his son Lonz Johnson, and Thomas 
Sumner and his son Alney Mc- 
Lean Sumner. 
Alexander spared no expense in his work. The capital at his disposal for 
this undertaking was practically unlimited. It is said he invested over 
$350,000. He enlarged the McLean house, in which he retained a few rooms 
for his personal use. Besides the furnace. Stone House, and mill he erected 
a two-story frame hotel, a few two-story frame dwellings, and about twenty 
frame cottages of three rooms each. These houses were lathed and plastered 
and supplied with massive chimneys and large open fire-x)laces. Everybody 
around the works, regardless of position, was comfortably housed. 

After considerable drilling, digging, and delaying, the furnace was 
finally started. Alexander, as said before, believed the Scotch were the 
most competent iron-workers in the world, and he therefore gave them full 
sway. While his men may have been thoroughly familiar with the handling 
of the Black Band iron ore of Scotland, they evidently did not realize that 
the ore here required a different treatment. Three or four unsuccessful at- 
tempts were made to run the furnace. The trouble lay not in the ore, but 
in its management. Had they changed some of their methods, the prob- 
abilities are that the undertaking would have been a grand success. 

Alexander's patience soon gave out. He cared very little about the 
money involved, for it was only a small part of his fortune. He set a date 
for the discontinuing of the work, and although the drillers discovered 




more iron ore on the preannounced last day, Alexander nevertheless clung 
to his firm resolution and abandoned the work. This was in the fall of 1857. 
He retired to his stock farm near Lexington, where he did probably more 
than any other one man toward the improvement of blooded stock in this 
State. At the time of his death, on his farm December 1, 1867, he was 
reputed to be the richest man in Kentucky. 

Sir Robert S. C. Aitcheson Alexander was a bachelor. After the death 
of his uncle he became known as Lord Alexander. He was a quiet, modest, 



unassuming man. His employes called him "the lord." On one occasion a 
backwoodsman named Williams paid a visit to Airdrie, and upon his arrival 
immediately asked for "that there Lord." Alexander was pointed out to 
him. Williams "sashayed around him and sized him up from head to 
foot, " and then expressed his astonishment by saying, "So you are the 
Lord, are you? By giim, you are nothin' but a human bein' after all, and 
.a plain, ordinary, say-little sort of a feller at that. They said you was a 
Big Bug, but five foot six will reach you any day in the week, by Washing- 
ton ! ' ' This amused Alexander, for he realized how unconsciously but 
truthfully the speaker had described him. He gave Williams a hearty hand- 
shake, and a few weeks later the backwoodsman presented "Lord Ellick" 
with "enough venison for all Scotland." 

Notwithstanding the fact that the furnace was a failure from a commer- 
■cial standpoint, life in the colony was happy. Although the men spent 
fmost of their time at work connected with the mines and furnace arid the 


women were occupied with their household affairs, amusements of many 
sorts were frequent. The women attended afternoon gatherings of various 
sorts, and did much toward introducing new customs among the native fam- 
ilies with whom they came in contact. The men were good fishermen and 
splendid swimmers. Archie Pollock,' one of the jolliest of the Scotlanders, 
was the "champion fist-fighter." In fact, friendly fist-fights were on the 
program more than any other sport. Dances were frequently given. Some 
of the old Scotch airs introduced by them can still be heard at **old fid- 
dlers' contests" occasionally held in the county. 

Although the town of Airdrie was short-lived, its establishment resulted 
in the introduction of many new and desirable families into Muhlenberg. 
After the withdrawal of Alexander practically all the men and women 
who came from Scotland remained in the county, and are to-day repre- 
sented by many descendants. 

Andrew Duncan and his brothers Robert and David Duncan left Scot- 
land for America in the early part of 1855, and a few months later Alexan- 
der sent for them to come to Airdrie. They were practical miners, and 
Alexander gave them a contract to sink a shaft. One of the brothers man- 
aged the day shift and the other the night crew. William 6. Duncan, now 
the best-known mine operator in Kentucky, is a son of Andrew Duncan, and 
David John Duncan, the well-known insurance man of Greenville, is a son 
of David Duncan. 

James Gilmour and his brother Matthew Gilmour were among Alexan- 
der's trusted employes. James spent most of his life in the Paradise coun- 
try, and died there in 1895. James G. Gilmour, of Paradise, is his son. 
Matthew returned to Scotland and there managed a large coal mine. 

Robert Kipling, the patternmaker, was an Englishman and came to Air- 
drie with Frank Toll. After the works were abandoned he located on a 
farm near Paradise, where he died March 10, 1902. Among his children 
now living in the county are Miss M. Bettie, Miss Rhoda A., George S., and 
R. Henry Kipling. Kipling, like every other man in Airdrie, was an ad- 
mirer of J. Jack Robertson, of the upper Pond Creek country. Kipling de- 
signed and cast a number of door-props called "Old Jack Robertson." 
They were iron figures about ten inches long and five inches high, repre- 
senting "Old Jack" sitting on the floor with his legs stretched out, a goose 
between them, and he in the act of carving it. A few of these iron door- 
weights can still be found in the county. 

Alexander Hendrie was Alexander's geologist. His father, Charles Hen- 
drie, sr., was manager of the estates belonging to the House of Airdrie. 
Alexander Hendrie, or "Scotch Henry," was born in Airdrie, Scotland. 
June 24, 1820. In 1848 he came to the United States in search of iron ore 
for Alexander. In 1850 he located in Paducah, where by prearrangement 
he met his father, with whom he made an exploration of the deposits of 
iron ore in Western Kentucky. In the course of a few months they began 
an investigation of the Buckner Furnace tract and there found the ore that 
they considered was what they were looking for. Their recommendation of 
the iron ore found on this tract resulted in Alexander's buying the place 
in 1851. 



Hendrie, wishing to be near his work, moved into the abandoned Buck- 
ner house, which he had restored for that purpose. While living near The 
Stack he occupied some of his leisure time farming. In the meantime he 
explored various parts of the county, and among other places discovered 
iron ore near Paradise. Alexander visited Hendrie on the Buekner place 
and discussed with him the questions of quality, quantity, and location of 
the iron ores on the various tracts 
that had been bought. Hendrie ad- 
vised Alexander not to repair The 
Stack, where transportation facilities 
were an obstacle, but to build a new 
furnace on Green River. In 1853 
they selected a site below Paradise 
and named it Airdrie. Hendrie, as- 
sisted by Matthew Gilmour, imme- 
diately began the new town. Alex- 
ander Hendrie 's brother, John Hen- 
drie, while still in Scotland, drew the 
plans for the new furnace and Stone 

About 1853 Alexander Hendrie 
moved to Airdrie. In the meantime 
he superintended the farming on the 
Buekner place. He continued to look 
after that tract until he resigned as 
manager of the Airdrie furnace. He 

made many trips between the two places on his celebrated mare ' ' Susie. 
This animal was burned to death while hitched in one of the Bvickner 
stables; however, shortly after, George W. Haden presented him with a 
mare, ' ' Dolly, ' ' that for many years was considered one of the most beauti- 
ful and intelligent animals in the county. Alexander Hendrie had a good 
education, and notwithstanding one report to the contrary, was a sober and 
industrious man. Tradition says his only fault lay in the fact that he was 
"too good for his own good." After his resignation as manager of Airdrie 
he continued his visits to Lexington, where he was invariably the guest of 
his friend Alexander. Shortly after he left Airdrie he became connected 
with the Riverside mine, where he remained until about 1864, when he 
moved to his farm in Ohio County, where he died in May, 1874. One of his 
sons is Charles Hendrie, the well-known mining engineer of Central City. 

John Macdougal, the father of William Macdougal, was also among 
those who held responsible positions at Airdrie. Gilbert Muir, the father-in- 
law of James Gilmour, was the "driver" or engineer, and retained charge 
of the machinery long after the furnace was abandoned. Robert Patterson 
was the bookkeeper and also one of the civil engineers. It was he who sur- 
veyed a line from Airdrie, while the furnace was in operation, to the old 
Buekner Furnace, from which place Alexander was planning to get ore. 
Henry Southerland was a shoemaker in Scotland, and continued in that line 
of work at Airdrie and Paradise. 




William Torrence was the engine-builder, in which capacity he had also 
worked in Scotland. Shortly before the works were abandoned he became 
one of the overseers. After the place was shut down he farmed across 
Green River from Airdrie. At the breaking out of the war Torrence became 
a member of Company I, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, and later settled in 
Rockport, where he died. Frank Toll held various positions at the furnace. 

Much has been written about 
Airdrie. As far as I am aware, 
the sketches that have been pub- 
lished are all, with one exception, 
nothing more than absurd murder 
and ghost stories, that evidently 
originated in the minds of those 
who wrote them. The exception I 
refer to is "A Report upon the 
Airdrie Furnace and Property," 
republished by the Kentucky State 
Geological Survey from an orig- 
inal record made in 1874 by P. N. 
Moore to Professor N. S. Shaler, 
then in charge of the Survey. It 
is a report of twenty-eight pages 
on the character of the coal and 
iron resources on the Airdrie prop- 
erty. One page is devoted to a de- 
scription of the furnace and about 
three pages to its history. These 
I quote : 


The furnace was built in 1855-56. It has an iron shell stack, resting 
upon a masonry base, twenty-six and a half feet square by twenty-one feet 
high. The outside diameter of the shell is twenty-three feet. The internal 
dimensions of the furnace are as follows : height fifty feet, diameter of bosh 
seventeen feet, height to bosh twenty-four feet (bosh cylindrical for six 
feet), diameter of throat eleven feet. The hearth is four feet high (ellip- 
tical in shape), seven feet four inches by (about) five feet. 

The furnace is entirely open-topped, having no facilities for saving the 
gases, and requiring separate firing for both boilers and hot-blast. 

There are two hot-blast ovens of the old-fashioned pistol-pipe pattern, 
with thirty-four pipes in each oven, ten curved pipes on each side, with 
seven straight at each end. The pipes are eight feet long, elliptical in cross- 
section, nine by eighteen inches, with diaphragm through the center of each. 

There are four boilers, each forty inches in diameter by twenty-eight 
feet in length, each boiler having two flues. The engine is vertical, with di- 
rect connection between the steam and blast cylinders, and also connected 
with a heavy walking-beam and fly-wheel, the walking-beam working with 
a counterpoise at one end. 

The steam cylinder is twenty inches in diameter and nine feet stroke; 
the blast cylinder six feet ten inches in diameter, stroke same as steam 


The engine-house is a splendid stone structure, built of a fine freestone, 
which occurs at the furnace. Everything about the furnace is constructed 
in the most thorough and durable manner. 

The top of the furnace is about the level of the No. 11 Coal, to be here- 
after described, and the ore and coal from the No. 12 seam were brought to 
the furnace mouth through a tunnel cut in the No. 11 Coal. The engine is 
in good order and well preserved. 

The furnace proper stands perfectly sound n.874) and could, in a very 
brief time, be put in condition to go into blast ; but among the buildings at- 
tached thereto the lapse of many years since they were in use has not been 
without its effect, so that repairs to both buildings and hot-blast apparatus 
will need to be made before they can be used again. 

The Airdrie Furnace property consists of about 17,000 acres of land in 
Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. This land is not all in one body, but lies 
in various sized lots, ranging from 500 to 5,000 acres. The greater portion 
of the estate lies within a short distance of the furnace ; but one tract of 
about 5,000 acres — the old Buckner Furnace property — is about five miles 
from Greenville, the county seat of Muhlenl)erg County, and fifteen miles 
from Airdrie. . . . 

Having thus considered in detail the resources of this property, and 
seen the remarkable advantages it possesses for obtaining fuel and cheap 
and varied supplies of ores, the question naturally presents itself : why, then, 
with all these advantages, was the furnace no more successful on its former 
trial? This is a serious and important question, for the reproach of failure 
laid against an enterprise of this kind outweighs many advantages. 

Into the answer a number of reasons enter, and to render them properly 
understood it will be necessary to go into the history of the former cam- 
paign of the f'arnace in some detail, and to refer to the management of the 
enterprise in language which is unmistakable, although it may seriously re- 
flect upon the business sagacity of some persons once connected with it who 
are no longer living. It should be premised that the information upon 
which the following account is based was obtained partly from the books of 
the furnace and partly from men who were on the ground, connected with 
the furnace in various capacities. 

The enterprise seems to have been conceived by its proprietor in a spirit 
in which benevolence, national pride, and the desire for a profitable invest- 
ment were strangely mingled. Being a Scotchman, and having some knowl- 
edge of iron manufacture as practiced in Scotland, he not unnaturally be- 
lieved men of that nationality to be the most competent and desirable per- 
sons to conduct establishments for iron-making. 

He, therefore, committed from the beginning the serious mistake of em- 
ploying almost exclusively newly arrived foreigners, men who, however 
competent at home, were without any knowledge of American prices and 
metallurgical practice, or experience with American ores and fuel. 

Having found what was firmly believed to be the equivalent of the cele- 
brated Scotch Black Band iron ore, and an associate coal which it was 
thought could be used raw in the furnace, he proceeded to erect a furnace 
modeled after the Scotch pattern. He brought over large numbers of 
Scotch miners and furnace men, and employed them almost exclusively; 
giving them to understand, it is reported, that it was to improve their con- 
dition, rather than in hopes of great returns, that he had made the invest- 
ment. He employed as superintendent and manager an uneducated, dissi- 
pated Scotchman, a man wholly unfit to fill so important and responsible a 



position, and to him he gave almost entire charge of the whole enterprise, 
often not visiting the property for months at a time. 

Under such conditions, it is no wonder that there was mismanagement, 
and that ill-advised expenditures were made. 

For three years, while the slow process of development was going on, the 
furnace and machinery erected, entries driven, and the great shaft, five and 
a half by eighteen feet, sunk to a depth of four hundred and thirty feet in 
search of a mythical ore (known to exist fifteen miles distant and nowhere 

As they appeared in 1895 

between), the proprietor continued uncomplainingly to increase his in- 

At last the furnace was started. It ran a few days very unsuccessfully, 
producing iron of a poor quality and in small amount, when an accident to 
the boiler compelled it to be blown out. 

Repairs were made in due time and the furnace again started. The 
working was no better than before, and the iron not improved in quality or 
quantity. In twenty-two days from the time of starting the saddle- 
plate of the walking-beam broke, disabling the engine and compelling the 
furnace to be shoveled out. Again it started and again, after a short run, 
no more successful than the last, an accident happened to the engine, the 
cast-iron shaft of the fly-wheel broke, and once more the furnace was 
shoveled out. 

In all three of these unfortunate campaigns the furnace was not in blast 
altogether more than six weeks or two months. 

After the last blast the manager concluded that the coal did not work 
well raw, and so made a large amount of coke from it to be tried at the next 
blast, but the next blast never came; the proprietor's patience was ex- 
hausted ; he stopped operations entirely, discharged his men, and shut up 
the mines and furnace. 

Since that time (November, 1857) the furnace has never been in opera- 
tion. The No. 11 Coal has been worked largely for shipment to the South- 
ern market, but beyond that the property has been lying idle and unpro- 


The closing of the furnace at that time was a mistake no less serious 
than some committed in starting it. The manager was beginning to learn, 
by the only method by which a so-called practical, uneducated man can 
learn — his own dear-bought experience — that American ores and fuel are 
not exactly like the Scotch, and that different practice is required for their 
treatment. Had he been allowed to go on, using coke for fuel, it is not un- 
likely that his next campaign would have proved much more successful. 

It can be truly said that the furnace has never been subjected to a fair 
trial. A total campaign of six weeks or two months, divided into three 
short blasts, affords no fair basis for judgment as to the merits of furnace, 
fuel or ore. 

After the withdrawal of Alexander his lands in Muhlenberg County 
were placed in charge of Colonel S. P. Love. He was succeeded by Thomas 
Bruce, a merchant and one-time county clerk, who looked after Alexander's 
interests a short time. Along in these years Doctor Shelby A. Jackson was 
in some way connected with Airdrie. Doctor Jackson was one of the most 
widely known men of his day. David B. Roll followed Thomas Bruce as 
agent of the land. "Squire" Roll, as he was familiarly called, was a magis- 
trate for ten years in succession, a well-to-do farmer and stock-raiser, and 
the owner of considerable property. The overseeing of the Alexander tracts 
was in "Squire" Roll's hands when General Don Carlos Buell appeared on 
the scene. ^ 

Immediately after the close of the war General Buell began a search for 
an oil field. He came to Airdrie from Marietta, Ohio, in 1866, for the sole 
purpose of working the oil on the Alexander lands. He took a forty-year 
mineral and oil lease on Alexander's seventeen thousand acres. Alexander 
was to receive, among other things, one tenth of all "the petroleum or other 
oil or oily substance obtained from the land." This company, of which 
General Buell was president, was known as the Airdrie Petroleum Co. 

Buell drilled extensively on the Alexander property along Green River 
and also on the Buckner Furnace tract. Airdrie being on Green River, and 
having the best transportation facilities, he decided to establish himself 

1 Don Carlos Buell was born at Lowell, Ohio, March 23, 1818; moved to Indian- 
apolis, Indiana, in his youth, and entered West Point in 1837, from which military 
academy he was graduated July 1, 1841. He fought in the Mexican War, and from 
1848 to 1861 served as chief of various departments. In July, 1861, he was made 
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and in March, 1862, Major-General. The timely ar- 
rival at Shiloh of the Army of the Ohio, under his command, resulted in the saving 
of Grant's army from defeat; his rapid and successful march to reach Louisville 
in time to prevent the city from being occupied by Bragg, and his driving of the 
Confederate army from Kentucky after the battle of Perryville, are among the 
military achievements of General Buell that are matters of national history. On 
October 30, 1862, through the influence of some of his enemies in the Federal 
army, he was superseded by General Rosecrans. Among other things with which 
he was then charged were failure to capture Bragg's army and to confiscate cer- 
tain property held by non-combatants. A military commission was appointed, be- 
fore which he was summoned, and after an investigation covering a period of 
many months there resulted some criticism upon some of his movements, but 
nothing affecting his honor or military standing. In May, 1864, at his own request, 
he was honorably mustered out of service. Thus ended the military career of a 
soldier who, while a soldier and later while a civilian, received little of the great 
credit due him for the military services he had rendered. His military career is 
not properly a subject for this book, but is for others to write. 



there. Furthermore, after the death of Alexander, the Alexander heirs, 
wishing to dispose of some of the property which they had inherited, en- 
tered into an agreement with Buell whereby the latter received a deed to 
the Airdrie furnace and about a thousand acres around it for having re- 
leased the forty-year lease that he then held. He thereafter confined his 
work to his own property near Airdrie. However, the coal Buell discovered 
while looking for oil was in such abundance that he changed his plans and 
directed most of his attention to coal development. 

Shortly before the last of the frame houses disappeared 

In the meantime (1868) The Green and Barren Rivers Navigation Com- 
pany leased Green River, which stream up to that time had been directly 
controlled by the State of Kentucky. The increased freight rate demanded 
by the new corporation was so much that Buell could not meet the prices of 
his competitors, to whom a lower freight rate was given. He fought the 
corporation through the TiCgislature for some fifteen years. His long, hard, 
and time-sacrificing work resulted in the Federal government purchasing 
the unexpired lease of the Navigation Company in 1888. The river was 
then put in good order and the old locks were improved and new ones added. 
For this work alone he deserves a monument. 

After Buell had won his transportation rate fight he felt too far ad- 
vanced in years to again begin his work of developing the mines. In the 
meantime much of the machinery had gone to wreck and ruin, and some of 
it had been sold. On one occasion, it is said, an old-iron peddler agreed to 
buy all the old pig iron and scrap iron lying around the furnace. The ped- 
dler loaded his barge, however, not only with scrap, but with all the ma- 



chinery on the place except the two boilers standing there to-day. Under 
the circumstances, and in spite of the available mineral, it is not at all sur- 
prising that nothing further was undertaken by General Buell.^ 

Of all the extravagant stories told about Airdrie, few are more absurd 
than those relative to the Stone House, sometimes — but erroneously — 
called the Old Prison. Some declare Alexander worked prisoners in his 
mines ; others say Buell used them in connection with his work. One young 
man's idea was that Buell here held the prisoners he had captured in the 


Civil War. A number of people are under the impression that the Stone 
House was built by and for some of the State convicts. In fact, one can 
hear anything and everything in regard to the "prisoners" except that they 
were free workmen brought over from Scotland by Alexander. 

The truth of the matter, however, is this: About 1884, when Eddyville 
prison was being enlarged, arrangements were made with General Buell to 
quarry stone on his place, to be used in the new penitentiary. About fifteen 
prisoners were sent by the State for the purpose of getting out the rock, 
who while at Airdrie were quartered in the Stone House. They remained 
only a few weeks, for in the meantime other stone had been discovered by 
General Lyon near Eddyville, and the State then transferred the prisoners 
to the new quarry. 

2 Although coal has been mined at Airdrie for many years and by various men, 
this rich field is practically untouched. 



Entrance to the "McLean Old Bank," Airdrie 

Many ghost stories are connected with the old hotel building at Airdrie. 

h was the largest frame house erected by Alexander. It remained unoccu- 
pied after Alexander aban- 
doned the furnace, and its 
weatherbeaten walls, broken 
windows, and generally di- 
lapidated condition gave rise 
to a report that the place was 
haunted. Although all traces 
of the hotel have disap- 
peared, the ghost stories have 
continued to increase in 
number and variety. Many 
of them begin with a mur- 
der scene and end with the 
maneuvers of a headless 
ghost. No one was ever 

killed in or near the building, all reports to the contrary notwithstanding. 
The stories about the haunted hotel and of ''prisoners" being worked 

by the owners of Airdrie are as groundless as those circulated over the 

country regarding the kinship 

or friendship that is said to 

have existed between General Buell 

and General Bragg. These two 

soldiers were not related by blood 

or marriage, and did not "sleep in 

the same bed the night before the 

battle of Perry ville." General 

Buell on November 19, 1851, mar- 
ried the widow of General Richard 

Barnes Mason, who w^as a grandson 

of General George Mason of Kevo- 

lutionary fame. General Bragg 's 

wife was Miss Ellis, of Louisiana. 

General Buell 's wife before her 

second marriage was Mrs. ]\Iar- 

garet (Turner) Mason, the mother 

of Miss Nannie Mason. Mrs. Buell 

died in Airdrie on August 10, 

1881. After her death Mrs. Course, 

the General's sister, made the 

place her home until 1885, when 

she died. General Buell died at Airdrie on November 19, 1898, and his 

body was sent to Belfontaine Cemetery, St. Louis. His estate was willed to 

Miss Nannie JMason, who a few years after his death made Louisville her 

home and died there November 19, 1912. In 1908 she sold the Airdrie lands 

to the Five J. Coal Company, of which Shelby J. Gish, of Central City, is 

general manager. 




After the General's death William Shackelton occupied the house for 
about two years. He was succeeded by Lorenzo D. Griggs. John Hendrie, 
the then aged architect of the old stone structures at Airdrie, occupied the 
house from September, 190-1, to November, 1906. David Rhoads came next, 


and was living in the historic mansion when, on the night of October 26, 
1907, it was destroyed by fire. 

During its seventy-five years of existence many of Muhlenberg's pio- 
neers loitered under its roof. Alexander entertained a number of renowned 



American and foreign visitors while living there. Charles Eaves was Gen- 
eral Buell's most intimate friend in the county and likewise his most fre- 
quent visitor. During Buell 's residence in Airdrie many men prominent in 
military and social circles were his guests. None, however, no matter how 
distinguished, was received with more open arms than his neighbors and 
friends of the Green River country. 


General Buell lived in this house thirty-two years, including the four 
years (1885-1889) he made Louisville his headquarters while Pension Agent 
for Kentucky. In 1880 and during a number of years following he was 
one of the Commissioners of the State Agricultural College. He was one of 
the early members of the Kentucky State Historical Society, and was also 
identified with many conventions that have aided in the development of the 
resources of the State. In 1890, when the Shiloh Military Park Commis- 



sion was organized, he was appointed one of its members, and served on that 
board up to the time of his death. Although never an applicant for office, 
General Buell's name has been mentioned in connection with many high 
offices, among them being the presidency of the United States. 

When, owing principally to his efforts, the Federal government assumed 
charge of Green River, General Buell had reached the age of seventy. In 
his declining years he spent most of his time on his two hobbies — working 
in his little carpenter shop, and looking after the trees and shrubbery in 
his park, which he kept always in good condition. He had a mechanical 

Seven years before its destruction by fire 

turn, and among other things constructed in his carpenter shop a model of 
a large dish-washing machine, such as are used in hotels, whereby one man 
can do the work of four. He never patented it. 

General Buell never engaged in farming, but rented out a small portion 
of his land to others, from whom he received enough hay and corn for rent 
to supply his own needs. He was always an admirer of native trees, wild 
birds, and good saddle-horses. From the time he first came to Muhlenberg 
until shortly before his death he could be seen almost every day riding in 
the country near Airdrie with his wife or daughter. "When, about 1880, his 
favorite horse "Shiloh" (presented to him during the war) died, he buried 
him on Airdrie Hill, putting a small rock at the head of the grave. He 
treated every animal on his place ^^ith the gentleness that a loving father 
would a small child. In his old age he continued to walk and ride \vith a 
military air. Everything he did was done in a most systematic manner. 
He was well informed on current events and subjects generally, and all who 
knew him personally speak of him as a most interesting conversationalist. 



He was an optimist and never found fault with anything. One of his most 
intimate friends in Muhlenberg says: "Not once did he as much as intimate 
to me that the Government had given him little or no reward for the 
services he had rendered in peace and in war." 

General Buell, while living at Airdrie, wrote on various subjects. 
Among his writings are three articles pertaining to the Civil War — 
"Shiloh Reviewed," ''Operations in North Carolina," and "East Tennes- 
see and the Campaign of Perryville," all of which were published in 1887 


by The Century Company in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War." 
General Buell, shortly after the death of his wife, wrote the following poem, 
heretofore unpublished, for a copy of which I am indebted to his step- 
daughter, ]\Iiss Nannie Mason : 


Strange, strange for thee and me, 

Sadly afar, 
Thou safe, beyond, above, 

I 'neath the star; 
Thou, where flowers deathless spring, 

I. where they fade, 
Thou, in God's holy light, 

I, in the shade. 

Thou, where each gale brings balm, 

I, tempest tossed. 
Thou, where true joy is found, 

I, where 'tis lost; 


Thou, counting ages thine, 

I, not the morrow, 
Thou, learning more of bliss, 

I, more of sorrow. 

Thou, in eternal peace, 

I, where 'tis strife. 
Thou, where care hath no name, 

I, where 'tis life; 
Thou, without need of hope, 

I, where 'tis rain. 
Thou, with wings dropping light, 

I, with Time's chain. 

Strange, strange, for thee and me. 

Loved, loving ever, 
Thou, by life's deathless fount, 

I, near Death's river; 
Thou, winning wisdom's love, 

T, strength to trust, 
Thou, with the seraphim, 

I, in the dust. 


AiMONG Muhlenberg's men of the last half of the Eighteenth Century 
none was more universally loved than the late Judge Charles 

His father, John S, Eaves, was born near Roanoke River, Vir- 
ginia, in 1783, and after a short stay in Nashville and Russellville settled in 
Muhlenberg in 1805 and became one of the county's most influential pio- 
neers. He located on Pond River, near Harpe's Hill. He was an intelli- 
gent man and a thrifty farmer, served as justice of the peace and sheriff, 
and in 1834 represented the county in the State Legislature. He died in 
Greenville in 1867. John S. Eaves married Lurena Ingram. She was a tal- 
ented woman and like her husband very much interested in the development 
of the county. They were the parents of seven children, of whom Charles 
Eaves was the youngest son.^ 

From early youth and through all the years of his life Charles Eaves 
was a student not only of law, history, and literature, but also of the 
natural sciences. During his boyhood and early manhood he devoted most 
of his winter evenings to the reading of good literature, and in the warmer 
season spent much of his spare time wandering through the Pond River 
forests studying Nature or sitting under an old sycamore on the banks of 
Eaves Creek, near his old home, perusing good books. To him the mon- 
archs of the forest were philosophers and friends. His poetical idea of the 
interpretation of the trees is beautifully expressed by his personal friend, 
James Lane Allen, in "Aftermath."- Judge Eaves recognized the great 
educational value of travel. At the age of twenty-two he made a trip on 
horseback to Dakota and other Western sections, and later in life visited 
some of the Eastern cities and the Southwestern States. 

1 Mr. and Mrs. John S. Eaves were the parents of: (1) Sanders, who married 
Jane Short; (2) William, married Sarah Walker; (3) George W., sr., married Mary 
Peters; (4) John S., jr., married Miss Turhiville; (5) Charles, married Martha G. 
Beach; (6) Mrs. Mary (Reverend Isaac) Malone; (7) Mrs. Caroline (Felix J.) 

2 "How sweet that smoke is! And how much we are wasting when we change 
this old oak back into his elements — smoke and light, heat and ashes. What a 
magnificent work he was on natural history, requiring hundreds of years for his 
preparation and completion, written in a language so learned that not the wisest 
can read him wisely, and enduringly bound in the finest of tree calf! It is a dis- 
honor to speak of him as a work. He was a Doctor of Philosophy! He should 
have been a college professor! Think how he could have used his own feet for a 
series of lectures on the laws of equilibrium, capillary attraction, or soils and 
moisture! Was there ever a head that knew so much as his about the action of 



A brief biography of Judge Eaves was published in J. H. Battle's 
"Kentucky, a History of the State," twenty years before his death. From 
this I quote : 

Charles Eaves was born January 20, 1825, nine miles west of Greenville. 
He was educated chiefly at home. In early boyhood he became a voracious 
reader. He gathered books and spun his own web of knowledge. On his 
father's farm his habit was 
to read half the night, after 
working on the farm all 
day. At the age of eighteen 
he took up the study of law 
on the farm, reading Black- 
stone, Story, Chitty, Ste- 
vens, Starkie, GreenleaF, 
and numerous other text- 
books, and after three years' 
reading obtained license to 
practice law. He was ad- 
mitted to the Greenville bar 
in September, 1846. Since 
then he has devoted his life 
to the study and practice oC 
law and to the study of 

He is now a ripe, 
thorough lawyer, ranking 
high in his profession. His 
knowledge is encyclopedic 
As a pleader he is skillful, 
accurate, thorough : as a 
speaker, never rhetorical, 
but plain, direct, compact 
and clear; always fair and 
honorable in the conduct of 
a case, and generally suc- 
cessful. If eloquence he has, 

it is the eloquence of conviction and clearness. He wins his cases by careful 
preparation, clearness of statement and fairness of argument. He served 
Muhlenberg County one year as county attorney, one year as school com- 
missioner, and one term (1857-59) as representative in the Legislature. 

In 1865 he removed to Henderson, Kentucky, and after a residence there 
of twelve years returned to Greenville, where he now resides in his quiet, 
tree-embowered suburban home. At Henderson he was city attorney for 
three years. The office was unsought, and he held it till he resigned it. 


light? Did any liuman being ever more grandly bear the burdens of life or better 
face the tempests of the world? What did he not know about birds? He had car- 
ried them in his arms and nurtured them in his bosom for a thousand years. Even 
his old coat, with all its rents and patches — what roll of papyrus was ever so 
crowded with secrets of knowledge? The august antiquarian! The old king! Can 
you imagine a funeral urn too noble for his ashes? But to what base uses! He 
will not keep the wind away any longer; we shall change him into a kettle of lye 
with which to whiten our floors." — From James Lane Allen's "Aftermath." 


From having frequently presided as special judge in the circuit courts he 
is generally known as Judge Eaves. 

Not old at sixty ; six feet high, and though not obese, weighing two hun- 
dred pounds, healthy and strong, with a memory like a chronicle, with a 
love of books unabated, reading a new law book with as much zest as a 
novel, drinking in its meaning as a sponge absorbs water. Judge Eaves is 
likely to survive the present century as an active member of his profession, 
honored and respected by bench and bar as well as by the people, and after 
his death his ghost may possibly be seen by his old associates about the 
courthouse with a law book or bundle of papers under his arm. 

In 1852 Charles Eaves married Martha G. Beach, of Greenville, for- 
merly of Rochester, New York. They became the parents of five children. 
Their first two children, Rufus and Frances, died before reaching maturity. 
Their sons, Charles and Ridley, left Muhlenberg in early manhood. Their 
fifth child, Miriam, was a beautiful but unfortunate woman, highly accom- 
plished and an excellent musician. She made Greenville her home during 
the greater part of her life. She was murdered in Louisville on November 
12, 1892. This dreadful tragedy and the circumstances leading to it was 
the great sorrow of Judge Eaves' life, the shock of which left a deep and 
lasting impress on him. 

No citizen was better versed in local traditions, and no man could tell 
the stories of bygone days more interestingly and more accurately, than 
Judge Eaves. He always showed a great and sympathetic interest in any 
legend he might be reciting. He was a brilliant conversationalist. Few men 
in telling old traditions, discussing literature, or explaining law could go 
so deeply into minute details and yet hold their listener's uninterrupted at- 
tention as he did. Unfortunately, he wrote nothing on local history and 
very little on any other subject. A poem said to have been written by him, 
and one of his letters, are quoted elsewhere in this chapter. On his death 
many oral traditions lost their last narrator and much of Muhlenberg's 
unwritten history faded into the mass of things forgotten. 

Judge Eaves loved Muhlenberg and everything associated with it. No 
hills and valleys appealed to him more, and no county's future seemed to 
him brighter, than Muhlenberg's. He often, and in all sincerity, told his 
friends that his soul could not pass away peaceablj^ in any other commu- 
nity, and that his bones would not rest quietly in any other place than in 
this land where he had spent a life of so many joys and sorrows. He was 
past eighty when the final summons came. He died in Greenville on August 
17, 1905, and was buried by the side of his wife, who had preceded him to 
the Great Beyond on January 17, 1902. 

On September 23, 1905, these resolutions on the death of Judge Eaves 
were passed by the members of the local bar and inscribed in the records of 
the Muhlenberg Circuit Court : 

Resolved: That in the death of Judge Eaves we have lost not only the 
senior of our bar and a revered and respected friend, but also the last mem- 
ber of a distinguished number of lawyers who began the practice of law 
under that system known as the Common Law Practice, which was in force 
in Kentucky prior to our Code Practice. 


Resolved: That we revere his memory and cherish with grateful recol- 
lections many favors bestowed by him, as well as many pleasant associations 
with him. 

Judge Eaves was a student all his life long. A volume could be written 
relative to his instructive and entertaining conversations on the books he 
had read. Judge Jeptha Crawford Jonson, one of the best-known attorneys 
in the Green River country, who moved from McLean County to Greenville 
in 1892, where he died April 10, 1912, aged seventy-nine, speaking to me of 
Judge Eaves, said: "During the thirty-five years intervening between 1868 
and the date of his death Judge Eaves and I were intimately associated, and 
I esteemed him greatly. He was an omnivorous reader and could describe 
vividly the characters in any story he had read, discuss in detail any essay 
he had perused, and repeat many and long extracts from the better-known 
poets. His memory was excellent. His assimilation and digestion of what 
he had read was perfect. He was thoroughly familiar with the Bible and 
with many of the Greek and Latin authors, with Shakespeare, Milton, and 
the Brownings; with Cowper, Scott, Bulwer, and Dickens; with Irving, 
Cooper, and Ha\^i;horne, and with a number of the French authors." 

Shortly after 1866, when General Buell made ]\Iuhlenberg his home. 
Judge Eaves and the General formed a friendship that continued until the 
death of Buell in 1898. Judge Eaves and his family frequently visited 
General and Mrs. Buell and their daughter. Miss Nannie Mason, at Airdrie, 
for many years. After the death of the General, Judge Eaves continued 
his visits to "dear old Airdrie." During all these years, upon his return 
home, the Judge invariably wrote his host a letter of appreciation. All his 
letters were destroyed when the Buell residence burned in 1907 except one 
which is addressed to Miss Nannie IMason, who after the death of the Gen- 
eral continued to live at Airdrie for a few years. Although the Judge here 
expresses himself in the form of a letter, it is a good sample of the style of 
conversation into which he often drifted. It is dated Greenville, 
June 26, 1902 : 

I loved Airdrie from the first of my knowledge of it as the home of Gen- 
eral Buell and his family — admired it for its beauty — loved it greatly for 
its dwellers — love it now for its old associations and its present owner. 

It was and is out of sight of roads and of people. A place where you 
may spread yourself — your whole self — Avithout disturbance ; where you es- 
<3ape the dust and smoke and folk ; where you dwell in the presence of the 
beautiful river, which is ever on its tranquil pilgrimage, bearing messages 
from the woods to the sea ; where you know every tree, every plant, every 
walk, every footpath, every bird, every note of everj^ bird; where, indeed, 
the birds have plenty of hiding-places, and they must need tell of it to 
others, until it becomes their summer garden as well as yours. You did not 
wait until Sunday to go to church ; but every morning in the week you and 
the birds had your orisons at four o 'clock and your evening benedictions at 
sunset. One who has never heard the birds from four o'clock until six, of a 
summer morning, as I have done at Airdrie, has never rightly heard God 
praised. You had your friends there. Some shaded you, some fed you ; the 
•catbird chatted with you ; the hens took food from your hands ; the roses 
never talked politics, but simply went on, clothing themselves with more 



beauty and evolving sweeter fragrance for your sake. Often you got down 
to the soul of things ; for everything has a soul. Surely the bees and the 
butterflies have soul-life — made up of taste, affection, fancy, will, and 
hereditary instincts. The General's horse might have been immortal, with- 
out injustice to other animals. Was there ever a genuine Anglo-Saxon cow 

there — a great, rich, red-hided Dur- 
ham? Such a cow would have be- 
come the place, and would doubtless 
have had a clean, sweet yard, where 
the apple trees leaned across the 
fence to shade her, and the moon 
looked in of nights to see her chew 
]ier cud. Such a cow would have 
spoken to you in modulated tones 
and looked at you with affection 

But the home, the dear old home, 
perclied on the hillside, overlooking 
the beautiful river, the house en- 
riched by its tender and precious 
associations, is by far the most in- 
teresting inanimate object at Air- 
drie, if, indeed, it be inanimate. Tn 
this liouse a truly great man, of 
noble nature, lived and died ; a 
beautiful and lovely woman lived 
and died, and a no less beautiful 
and lovely woman lived and loved to 
live and would again love to live. 
Of the walls of this house Avhere these 
beautiful lives have been lived, where 
so many precious experiences have 
been passed through, might not one 
say exactly what Joshua said about 
the stone that he set up in Sheehem 
(Joshua xxiv, 27) : "They have 
heard all the words of the Lord 
which lie spake unto you?" And 
indeed the parallel goes farther. The words which your household walls 
have heard from God, and which they are still uttering, are the same words 
which He had spoken in the presence of the old stone at Sheehem, and of 
which that stone was a perpetual witness to the people. Think of this house 
which has become monumental. Its walls have other and far deeper values 
than were paid the architect and tlie carpenter for designing and building 
them. These walls are steeped in truth, and each room speaks it in its own 
peculiar voice — the old truth of Covenant between man and God — the ne- 
cessitj^ and blessing of obedience. It is not put in the hard old Jewish Avay 
as it speaks to you out of the walls of your Christian home. It is richened 
and deepened. But it is the same old truth. The wondrousness of life, the 
blessedness of life, and the tie between all life and Crod, who is the everlast- 
ing and all-creating one; that man's life belongs to God, and that there is 
no true life in man except in God. 

In these rooms you faced the awful mystery of death ; you watched that 
slow, sure, gentle, irresistible untwisting of the golden cord, and saw mor- 

One of Judge Eaves' "Philosophers of 
the Forest" 



tality fade into immortality before your very eyes. Can these rooms ever 
be silent to you again? God gave you there at once the keenest pain and 
the sublimest triumph over pain that the human heart can know. There He 
taught you at once the necessity and blessedness of submission. 

It was here that some of your most precious friendships grew and rip- 
ened. It was here I first met you, your mother and the General, and learned 
to love you and yours. It was here you met and loved my wife and my 
granddaughters, Mabel and Bessie Reno. It was here in this auditorium of 

For many years the Charles Eaves Residence 

heaven, amid all these sacred and inspiriiig associations, that you "heard 
the voice of the Lord which He spake unto you," bearing "witness unto you 
lest you deny Him." He bore ever "fresh and present witness" of Him- 
self in your heart. Every morning His voice was new. Every evening His 
voice pursued you to your rest. Besides this direct continual presence He 
filled your world of association with utterances of Himself. The world will 
become to you more and more full of monumental pictures of human noble- 
ness, patience, self-sacrifice, courage, meekness, so that you shall be more 
and more sure that goodness and heroism are possible for man. Not that 
you are lacking in any of these, but they will grow and ripen. 

The transforming power of association is wonderful. It is the greatest 
enrichment of the world by man. Herod builds a temple at Jerusalem. 
With vast labor he levels the rough places and hews the great stone blocks 
into shape. When it is done, his temple shines like a jewel on its hill. But 
who cherishes the memory of its builder ? Jesus comes right across the little 
valley to the Mount of Olives. He changes nothing outward. He sticks no 
spade into its surface. He leaves each bush and olive tree as he finds it. 
But there He ofttimes resorts with his disciples. There he lies prostrate in 
the struggle of Gethsemane. There at last His feet touch the earth as He 


ascends to Heaven, and ever since those days Mount Olivet burns in the 
dearest and most sacred memory of man. 

Judge Eaves' life was filled with profound sorrows that would have 
crushed a less philosophic nature than his. Keen and bitter disappoint- 
ments in his life followed one after another, leaving him a desolate and 
lonely man. What these disappointments were are still fresh in the minds 
of his surviving contemporaries and do not come within the scope of this 
sketch or of this volume. He met sorrow uncomplainingly and without any 
appeal for sympathy. Sympathy was universally felt, but nobody could 
invade the sanctity of the burden of grief that the disappointed old man 
carried to his grave without murmuring. His nature, which rose above re- 
sentment, and his philosophy, which contemplated with stoical endurance 
all the varying fortunes of life, were shown by his voluntary appeal, in sim- 
ple and direct words, to a jury about to decide the fate of the murderer of 
his daughter. A plea of guilty had been entered. The deed was without legal 
extenuation, and without hearing evidence the court was about to submit 
the case to the jury. At that moment the prosecuting attorney asked per- 
mission for Judge Eaves to make a statement. This, although an unusual 
proceeding, was granted by the court. Judge Eaves, rising and advancing 
toward the jury, and speaking slowly with solemnity and feeling, said : 

"By permission of the court I wish to state that I am the father of 
Miriam Wing. I wish also to state that it will be satisfactory to me if the 
jury will sentence Bert Wing to penal servitude for life. I have reasons for 
this. I, who am sixty-eight years of age, can not afford to act against any 
man from mere resentment. I can not help but feel some pity for a man 
M'ith whom drinking was such a disease. Gentlemen, it will suit me, if it 
will suit you, to say in your verdict that his punishment shall be confine- 
ment in the penitentiary for life. "-^ 

After the death of Judge Eaves the following poem was found among 
his personal papers. The words were in his own handwriting and not in 
quotations. This fact, coupled with the subject of the poem, makes it ap- 
pear that he may have been the author. He was a man of poetic tempera- 
ment, but no one knows of his ha\'ing written or published any other poem. 
On the other hand, it may be one of those stray waifs of impressive and 
solemn inspiration that sometimes find anonymous publication and which 
he had found in print somewhere, adopted in his heart, and copied in his 
own hand. It so faithfully portrays the sorrow that fell upon his old age 
that it would naturally appeal to him as a full summary of human fate un- 
der sorrow. Nevertheless, many of his friends think that he wrote these 
lines out of the fullness of his own heart : 

3 This case was tried in Louisville on February 17, 1893. The jury, after con- 
sidering the matter an hour and twenty minutes, agreed to a sentence of life im- 
prisonment. The Courier-Journal of the following day, in an account of the trial, 

"That the verdict of death did not follow Wing's admission of guilt was due to 
the plea made in his behalf by .Judge Eaves. After the jury had rendered its ver- 
dict. Judge Eaves said: 'Whatever blame attaches to this tempering of justice with 
mercy, let it fall on me. I am responsible. I had intended to say this to the jury.' " 



God's plow of sorrow! Sterile is 

The field that is not turned thereby ; 
And but a scanty harvest his 

Whom the great Plowman passeth by. 
God's plow of sorrow! All in vain 

His richest seed bestrews the sod; 
And spent for naught the sun and rain 

On glebes that are not plowed of God. 
He ploweth well, he ploweth deep, 

And where he ploweth angels reap. 

God's plow of sorrow! Gentle child, 

I do not ask that he may spare 
Thy tender soul, the undefiled. 

Nor turn it with his iron share. 
Be thine his after-rain of love. 

And where his heavy plow hath passed, 
May mellow furrows bear above 

A holier harvest at the last ! 
He ploweth well, he ploweth deep. 

And where he ploweth angels reap. 

God's plow of sorrow! Furrowed brow, 

I know that God hath passed thy way ; 
And in thy soul his heavy plow 

Hath left its token day by day. 
Yet from the torn and broken soil, 

Yea, from thy loss and from thy pain. 
He hath due recompense of toil, 

Be sure he has not plowed in vain. 
He ploweth well, he ploweth deep, 

And where he ploweth angels reap. 

God's plow of sorrow ! Do not think. 

Oh careless soul, that thou shalt lack. 
God is afield, he will not shrink — 

God is afield, he turns not back. 
Deep driven shall the iron be sent 

Through all thy fallow fields, until 
The stubborn elements relent 

And lo, the Plowman hath his will ! 
He ploweth well, he ploweth deep, 

And where he ploweth angels reap. 


THE Civil War began on the 12th of April, 1861, when General 
Beauregard ordered the batteries in front of Charleston, South 
Carolina, to fire on Fort Sumter, and it ended on the 9th of April, 
1865, when General Lee surrendered his army to General Grant 
at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. 

For at least ten years before the actual outbreak of the Civil War the 
probability of war was discussed by every IMuhlenberg man and woman. 
This topic was also the subject of much of the correspondence that passed 
between relatives and friends. A letter written by Peter Shaver a few 
weeks before the breaking out of the Civil War, sent to his son Benjamin J. 
Shaver, who at that time was at Frankfort representing ^Muhlenberg County 
in the Legislature, is here quoted. It is dated at Bremen, February 6, 1861 : 

I find the people in this part of the county and McLean firm for the 
Union, but all that we can hear appears to be gloomy and doubtful. I still 
hope that a settlement of the difficulties will be reached. 

It seems to me that the Southern aristocratic Democrats have neither 
reason nor judgment. I cannot see what they expect to gain. But when 
a people are doomed they are blind and wall work out their own destruc- 
tion. I think that when they feel the heavy taxes that will fall on them, 
they will revolt and return to the Union. I am proud Virginia has taken 
such a noble stand. She always was brave and patriotic. She has great 
influence and I hope that her plan will be successful and that peace and 
harmony ma,y be restored. 

I am astonished that there are so many disiinionists in our State. I 
perceive that a goodly number are in the Legislature. If the Union must 
be dissolved, will we not be in a worse condition than Mexico? If this 
Union is divided Kentucky will go with the Southern division. ^ 

Times are hard now, but they are nothing whatever to what they w411 
be if this rupture takes place. 

There is no class of citizens that have contributed more to cause this 
distracted state than the clergy of the North. Their influence is great. 
They have "gendered" envy, hate, strife and bitterness in society, whereas 
their Master, whom they pretend to serve, taught nothing but peace and 
good will to all people. As a nation w^e have been the most happy and 
prosperous in the world. Perhaps we have grown too rich, too proud and 
corrupt, and that we need some chastisement to bring us to our senses ; 
then we will do what is right again. 

^ South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860; Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, 
Georgia, and Louisiana followed in January, 1861; Texas in February, Virginia in 
April, Arkansas and North Carolina in May, and Tennessee in June. The citizens 
of Kentucky and of Missouri were divided in sentiment on the question of secession. 



Dear son, you complain of the great responsibility that rests upon you. 
All that I can advise you, is to have confidence in your own judgment, 
and be swayed by no man's opinion without mature consideration. 

I hope the people of Kentucky will pause and consider what they will do 
before it is too late. Just think of seeing garrisons from the mouth of 
the Sandy to the mouth of 
the Ohio, and all our effective 
men stationed there ! Then 
every small farmer that is not 
able to have a negro will be 
compelled to sell his farm to 
a slave-holder and be a serv- 
ant. I greatly fear that while 
some are contending to free 
the negro they will enslave 
the white man, and M-e will 
be the most unhappy people 
on earth, with no one to blame 
but ourselves. 

A reform is certainly 
wanting in the Federal gov- 
ernment ; — too many officers, 
an empty treasury and a large 
debt have accumulated in 
time of peace. I hope all the 
States will return to the 
Union, and if South Carolina 
will not, she will be no loss 
to the government ; she has 
never done any good; a per- 
verse member she always was. 

Now all that I can say, fall 
on what side we may, let us 
be loyal citizens so that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives. As for 
myself, I have nothing to lose or gain; it is for posterity that I feel in- 
terested. My prayer is for peace and prosperity and the Union forever. 
Your most affectionate Father. 

P. Shaver. 

Postscript : I hope you will be home soon. I can not see what good the 
Legislature can do now. Perhaps they have done too much already. I kindly 
tender you my thanks for the Commonwealth until you are better paid. 

— P. S. 

^ Benjamin Johnson Shaver, son of Peter Shaver, was born near Bremen, 
September 11, 1818, and died on his farm near Greenville October 17, 1894. He 
served as constable for eight years in the Bremen district. In 1850 he moved 
east of Greenville, and in 1851 was elected constable for the Boggess district. 
He next served as deputy sheriff for a few years, and then two terms as sheriff. 
In 1859 he made the race for the Legislature on the Union ticket, defeating 
Charles Eaves, Democrat, by six votes. In 1862 he was elected county judge 
without opposition. In 1875 he was elected to the Legislature on the Democratic 
ticket. On the expiration of his term in the Legislature he retired from public 
life and spent the remainder of his years on his farm. He served the county 
well. He always merited and received the confidence and esteem of the people. 
His first wife was Susan Jagoe. After her death he married Ann Morehead. Two 
of his children — Robert A. Shaver and Mrs. Nannie E. (first wife of George W.) 
Morgan — made Muhlenberg their home. His other children — George, Horace, 
William, Benjamin, and Joseph Shaver — settled in the West. 



Collins is the only historian who has recorded any account in a history 
of Kentucky relative to Muhlenberg during the Civil War, and his is a 
very brief reference. Under the head of Muhlenberg County he writes : 

''During the War of the Rebellion, Greenville was, for some time, an 
outpost of both armies, or rather neutral ground between them. It was 
taken by General Buckner in February, 1862, and some time after by 
John Morgan, and was once or twice partially sacked by guerillas. Muh- 
lenburg County sent 836 men to the Federal army." 

Collins' statement that Greenville "was taken by General Buckner in 
February, 1862," is erroneous both as to the date and the act. General 
Simon Bolivar Buckner passed through Greenville on September 26, 1861, 
but did not take possession of the town nor did he attempt to do so. General 
Buckner was in the neighborhood of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, 
near the Tennessee State line, during the first half of February, 1862, and 
on February 16th, when he surrendered Fort Donelson, he was transported 
to Indianapolis, whence he was sent a military prisoner to Massachusetts. 
The statement made by Collins that Greenville "was once or twice 
partially sacked by guerillas" does not apply to the maneuvers of Gen- 
erals S. B. Buckner, N. B. Forrest, or John H. JMorgan, for their move- 
ments were more in the nature of a ride through the county than a raid 
on it. However, of the sections visited by such men as Dave Cain, Morris 
Moore, Jake Porter, Quantrill and others it may, in many instances, be 
said that they were ' ' partially sacked by guerillas. ' ' 

The marches made by Generals Buckner, Forrest, and Morgan were 
among the stirring events that transpired in Muhlenberg during the war, 
and will always rank among the most interesting incidents in the county's 
history. Although the coming and going of these troops may have 
frightened many people, such frights were insignificant compared to the 
experiences the citizens lived through while subject to the guerrilla raids 
and highway robberies that took place in Muhlenberg during the war. 
Many of these predatory invasions are woven into R. T. Martin's "Recol- 
lections of the Civil War," published elsewhere in this history, and to 
avoid repetition are eliminated from this chapter on the Civil War. The 
military career of Colonel Robert ]\L Martin in Muhlenberg and other 
parts of the country is also given in another chapter. 

Edward R. Weir, sr., of Greenville, was looked upon as the leader of 
the Union men in the county. In September, 1861, he organized Company 
B, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, and partially equipped it. His daughter, 
Anna Weir, presented to each of the officers and privates a pin-cushion or 
"housewife" — a small baglike cushion supplied with needles, thread, and 
buttons. James II. Brown, of Central City, carried his through the war, 
and still preserves it as one of his most precious war mementos. Edward 
R. Weir, jr., was chosen captain of Company B. He later resigned his 
captaincy and in 1863 helped raise the Thirty-fifth Kentucky Mounted 
Infantry, of which he became colonel. ^ 

= Throughout the war E. R. Weir, jr., was always accompanied by his "waiting 
boy," Jesse Weir, who continued to serve his master faithfully for many years 
after slaves were emancipated. Jesse Weir died in Greenville in 1900, a highly 
respected negro. 


^Muhlenberg was more numerously represented in the Eleventh Ken- 
tucky Infantry than in any other F(ideral regiment. ]Most of the local 
men joined companies B, H, I, or K. At the resignation of Colonel 
Pierce B. Hawkins the Eleventh was commanded by Colonel S. P. Love, 
then of South Carroilton. The names of all the officers and privates in 
this and the other Union regiments organized in the State appear under 
a brief history of each regiment in "The Union Regiments of Kentucky," 
a book published by the Courier-Journal Job Printing Company in 1897. 
After the resignation of Captain Edward R. Weir, of Company B, William 
F. Ward became captain. Captain Isaac R. Sketo was killed at Shiloh, 
and Jesse K. Freeman was then elected captain of Company H. Joseph D. 
Yonts was first lieutenant of the same company. Joseph Fox and James 
R. Wise, of the Paradise country, served as captains of Company I. After 
Captain M. J. Roark, of Company K, was wounded at Shiloh he was suc- 
ceeded by Captain Columbus H. Martin and Captain W. C. Shannon. 
James L. Roark was first lieutenant of this company. 

The county was also well represented in the Third Kentucky Cavalry, 
organized by Colonel James S. Jackson, of Hopkinsville, who in July, 1862, 
was made brigadier-general and was succeeded as colonel by Major Eli H. 
Murray. Arthur N. Davis was captain of Company D until he was cap- 
tured at Sacramento, when he was succeeded by Captain Thomas J. Love- 
lace. Captain Isaac JNliller, of Company F, was succeeded by Captain 
Elisha Baker. A number of local- men were attached to the Seventeenth 
Kentucky Infantry, raised by Colonel John H. McHenry, of Owensboro, 
and a few enlisted in the Twenty-sixth Kentucky Infantry and the Forty- 
eighth Kentucky Mounted Infantry. 

It is probable that less than one hundred and fifty ^Muhlenberg citizens 
were in the Confederate army. No company of Confederates was organized 
in the county. Some men joined Buckner's command when he passed 
through in September, 1861, and a few became attached to companies that 
were recruited in Hopkins and Christian counties. Muhlenberg's largest 
representation in the Southern army was in Company C, Ninth Kentucky 
Infantry. This was recruited at Hartford by Doctor John Ed Pendleton, 
who served as its captain until its arrival in Russellville, when he was 
appointed chief surgeon of the regiment and later advanced to higher 
positions on the medical staff of the brigade. 

From Ed Porter Thompson's "History of the Orphan Brigade" I 
copy the following names of the Muhlenberg men who were meml)ers of 
Company C. All here given were ^Muhlenberg men, although many of them 
are not so designated by Thompson : Moses Wickliffe, first lieutenant ; 
Hume H. Harris, second lieutenant (seriously wounded at Baton Rouge) ; 
James H. Faughender, second lieutenant; C. C. Ambrose, second corporal 
(wounded at Stone River) ; .lames W. Yonts, second corporal (wounded 
at Chickamauga). Privates: John L. F. Ambrose (died at Atlanta) ; W. D. 
Burney (died at Griffin, Georgia) ; Joel Craig (died on retreat from. 
Corinth) ; Richard Green (captured at Stone River) ; Joseph Hall; Harry 
Hendricks (killed at Shiloh) ; M. C. Hay (wounded and captured at 
Shiloh) ; John F. Jernigan; Benjamin G. Jernigan (wounded at Shiloh) ; 



0. K. Jones (died of wounds received at Jackson, Mississippi) ; J. Ed 
Jones (killed at Sliiloh) ; R. Wickliffe Jones; A. H. Kincheloe; A. J. 
Kirtley (wounded) ; Elislia B. Kirtley; W. C. Lander; N. R. Letner; John 
J. Mahan; William C. Pendleton; James H. Roll (killed at Shiloh) ; George 
Raney (wounded at Shiloh) ; Charles W. Rothrock; Elias G. Smith (killed 
at Shiloh) ; David Saulsburg (died of wounds received at Columbus, Mis- 
sissippi) ; Gus Thompson (died of disease at Russellville) ; Henry L. Vickers 
(wounded at Shiloh) ; James W. Weeks (wounded at Chickamauga) ; M. L. 
Weeks; John K. Wickliffe (killed at Resaca) ; R. W. Wallace. 

The names of John L. Taylor, of South Carrollton, and Jesse H. Wal- 
lace, of Paradise, are omitted by mistake from the list published by Thomp- 
son. Among other jMuhlenberg men who joined the Confederate army 
in the South was Noah D. Rothrock, Benjamin L. Rhoads, James Drake, 
John ]\I. Jones, and David Hay. 

All the men who became members of Doctor Pendleton's company did 
not enlist at Hartford. This company left Hartford on Sunday, Septem- 
ber 22, 1861, crossed Green River at South Carrollton and marched to 
Greenville, where they were joined by about twenty men under Moses 
Wickliffe, who had resigned as sheriff of the county to take up the cause 
of the South. After remaining in Greenville an hour this company re- 
sumed its march, and on the evening of the 23d arrived at JMyers' Old 
Chapel, where after they had prepared to camp for the night they received 

a report that they were being 
pursued by a regiment of 
Federals. They immediately 
started for Logan County, but 
soon discovered that the re- 
port was false. The next 
morning they arrived in Rus- 
sellville, and their company 
became part of what was later 
known as the Orphan Brigade. 
In the meantime, that is, 
on the "fourth Sunday in 
September, 1861," Elisha B. 
Kirtley, of Paradise, made 
preparations to join the 
Southern army. While shav- 
ing he told those who were 
in his room that he w^ould not 
shave again until the Confederate government was established beyond all 
doubt. He walked to Bowling Green and there enlisted in the Con- 
federate cavalry, but later joined Company C of the Ninth Kentucky 
Infantry. At any rate, although he had many "close shaves" at Shiloh, 
Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge, he never shaved his face after the 
"fourth Sunday in September, 1861," but wore a long beard during the 
remainder of his life, more than fifty years. Resolutions of similar nature 
were often made by Federal as well as Confederate soldiers, and many 




- . ...*■' A 





1^ a 


- ■. ^.— 

c , .. 

w^ -i 


'*"«** "" "'■ 

"i • z__ 

Russellville Road, near Clifty Creek; 'built 1880, 
abandoned 1895; as it appears to-day 


of them were carried out. These men stood on the brink of eternity every 
day, and naturally many of them had presentiments of death. A number 
of these forebodings came to pass. The following relative to a citizen of 
South Carrollton is ciuoted from a faded newspaper clipping which was 
probably published shortly after the battle of Stone River, December 31, 

"In the celebrated detour of General Wharton to the rear of the enemy 
on Tuesday, December 30th, he was completely successful in his daring 
undertaking, but several gallant spirits fell never to rise again. Among 
these we may mention Noah D. Rothroek, of Muhlenberg County, Ken- 
tucky, and adjutant in Colonel Howard's Alabama Cavalry. He was shot 
just at the moment of victory, and such was the severity of his wound that 
he had to be left in the rear. Lieutenant Waller Overton remained with 
him and saw his body decently interred with an appropriate gravestone 
placed over it. The Abolitionists took Lieutenant Overton prisoner and 
paroled him. The body of Adjutant Rothrock they merely robbed of his 
cap and spurs. Noah Rothrock was one of nature's noblemen — a kind, 
generous and accomplished gentleman. He entered the service at the 
inception of the war and served with great faithfulness until the hour of 
his death. The day previous to receiving the fatal wound he remarked to 
his immediate companion that he had a presentiment of disaster to him- 
self and told him that he would fall and the ball would pass through the 
picture of his sweetheart, Lilian, then in his pocket, and requested him 
to tell her of this presentiment and its coming true. Sure enough, the 
messenger of death first defaced the consecrated and enshrined picture 
and then laid low in death the gallant Rothrock." 

In this connection it may be well to refer to John K. Wickliffe, 
another of the JMuhlenberg soldiers who lost his life fighting for the 
South. John K. Wickliffe was a son of Colonel Moses Wickliffe, and one 
of the most popular men in the county. He was born in 1834 near Bevier, 
enlisted in Company C, Ninth Kentucky Infantry, fought at Shiloh, Vicks- 
burg. Baton Rouge, Hartsville, Stone River, Jackson, Chickamauga, Mis- 
sion Ridge, and Rocky Face Gap, and was killed at Resaca, Georgia, May 
14, 1864. No soldier's death was more keenly deplored in the county, 
by both Northern and Southern sympathizers, than that of John K. 
Wickliffe, who had won his way into the hearts of all with w^iom he had 
come in contact. Lycurgus T. Reid, of Rockport, Ohio County, writing 
to me in July, 1912, relative to the death of this brave man, says : 

"Although I may have forgotten some of my war experiences, I re- 
member the time John K. Wicklift'e w^as killed. I had my hand on his 
back when the fatal ball struck him. This incident, in all its detail, is 
as clear in my mind to-day as it was the day he was shot. I need but 
close my eyes to see the whole scene reenacted. It will be impossible for 
me to picture to you all the details of the event. However, I will attempt 
to give an outline of the facts. 

"We were at Resaca. We had dug out shallow trenches and on top 
of the low embankment we had placed an old log, leaving a space between 
the top of the embankment and the lower side of the log, through which 



to shoot at the Yaiikees should they attack us. We had left our arms 
back of the breastworks while we were working on this embankment. 
Suddenly the rally to arms was sounded and every mother's son of us 
made for our guns. I, being a small man, was posted on the left of Com- 
pany C (the color company of the Ninth Regiment), near the flag and 
John K. Wicklift'e, who was our second sergeant and left company guide. 

Something, at times, makes me think 
he was color sergeant that day, but 
if he was he held on to his gun and 
accoutrements. "We fell into the 
slight works and began to arrange 
ourselves for a good, square fight. 
The Yankees were in sight and com- 
ing fast. Wickliffe lay down on his 
stomach and, finding his cartridge 
box under him, asked me to push it 
up on his back. While I was attempt- 
ing to do so a minie ball from the 
Yankee column struck the lower edge 
of the log, just above our heads, and 
glanced down, striking Wickliffe in 
the forehead, a little to the right of 
the center, passing through his head. 
He suddenly rose to his feet and 
° fell backward, outside of the works, 

a dead man. He scarcely moved a muscle after he fell. I fired a number 
of shots over his prostrate body at the approaching enemy. During the 
course of the fight that followed I was obliged to change my position, 
but before doing so I took another look at my old friend and then covered 
his face with a blanket. That was the last I saw of John K. Wickliffe." 

Soon after war was declared no less than a dozen Muhlenberg fami- 
lies were represented in both armies. IMany families and friends 
were divided in their sympathies. Arguments followed, and as a result 
the dividing line was usually more distinctly drawn. While those on the 
same side agreed on most questions, they occasionally held opposite views 
regarding certain points. Among those whose sympathies were the same 
but who disagreed in their opinion as to the final outcome of the war 
were William and Henry Young, of the Nelson Creek country. One day 
in the fall of 1861 these two brothers were sitting by the stove in Samuel 
Henry's shoeshop in South Carrollton, again arguing the question as to 
which side would win in the Civil War, when Henry remarked to his 
brother that if General Thomas L. Crittenden moved his troops from 
Calhoun into Muhlenberg County some of the local people ''would make 
it as hot as blazes for his soldiers." Just then a Federal soldier stepped 
into the shop, and having heard none but the last few words, demanded 
that the remark be repeated. Henry hesitated, and William answered : 
"He was just saying that if General Crittenden had stoves like this in 
his tents he could make them as hot as blazes for his soldiers." 


That evening, on their return home, each tried again to convince the 
other of his view as to which side would win. Henry held that the South 
was bound to come out victorious : William declared that the North would 
conquer. They agreed that since they could not "argue it out" they 
would "fight it out," and that the result of the war would be settled by 
them ' ' once for all " in a " fist-and-skull fight. ' ' A friendly battle followed, 
and ever after both felt convinced that the North would subdue the South. 

Shortly after Doctor Pendleton's company left Hartford, General 
Simon Bolivar Buckner passed through ^Muhlenberg at the head of about 
fifteen hundred men. General Buckner marched from Bowling Green to 
Rochester, where some of his recruits attempted to destroy the lock and 
dam below the mouth of Mud River. His men continued over the Green- 
ville, Rochester, and Mud River Road to Greenville, and on the evening 
of the 26th of September, 1861, camped at the Ellison Spring, about two 
miles southwest of town. Charles Fox Wing, whom General Buckner had 
known intimately for twenty years, had died in Greenville the day before. 
Buckner, hearing of this, called at the AVing home at Cherry and Alain 
Cross streets and there viewed the remains of his old friend. 

Wlien Buckner 's men passed through Greenville they carried the Con- 
federate flag at half-mast. On that occasion a few Southern banners were 
waving from some of the house-tops, most conspicuous among which was the 
one at the home of Robert S. Russell. Edward Rumsey, during the entire 
war, although a Southern sympathizer and looked upon as an adviser of 
those who espoused the Southern cause, never hung out any other flag than a 
white one — the flag of peace. Alany Union flags were unfurled on this 
memorable 26th of September, and although greater in number they were 
not displayed with any greater enthusiasm than the Confederate colors. 
A.t the breaking out of the war the Federal flag was raised on the lawn 
in front of the residence of Edward R. Weir, sr., and remained there day 
and night, year after year, until peace had been declared. When General 
Buckner and his soldiers arrived in Greenville they saw the large flag 
waving in front of the Weir house. One of the Confederates attempted 
to pull it down, and probably would have done so had not the General 
immediately stationed some of his men near the flag to guard it. "Every 
man has a right to express himself," said the General, and then gave 
orders to his men not to molest this or any of the other flags they might 
see displayed along their line of march. 

During this short but memorable stay in Greenville General Buckner 
chanced to see a horse ridden by George W. Haden, who happened to be 
in town that day. The General expressed his admiration of the animal 
and offered to buy it. But this sorrel being the pride of the whole family, 
the owner did not feel at liberty to give or sell him to any one. Upon his 
return home, near Drakesboro, Mr. Haden informed his wife of the Gen- 
eral's desire to own this horse, "Reindeer." Mrs. Haden immediately sent 
the horse back to Greenville and presented him to General Buckner with 
her compliments. One version has it that this same animal was shot from 
under General Buckner five months later, at Fort Donelson, February 15, 
1862, General Buckner informed me, however, that while he was attending 


the conference of officers which arranged for the surrender of Fort Donel- 
son this horse was stolen and taken across the river, and that about a year 
later, while at KnoxviUe, the animal was returned to him by order of 
General Floyd, and that it died a natural death before the close of the war. 

On the morning of the 27th of September Buckner's command left the 
Ellison place and resumed its march. They crossed Pond River at Reno's 
Bridge, now Browse's Bridge, and on the 29th entered Hopkinsville, where 
they left a few troops. When the Union men of Greenville learned of 
Buckner's departure for Hopkinsville they immediately sent this informa- 
tion to the Federals in that town. John Breathitt, of Christian County, 
carried the news. 'The moment he received the message he sprang upon 
a horse belonging to Colonel James S. Jackson, disappeared up the high 
road in a cloud of dust, and in three and a half hours had raced over the 
thirty-two hiUs between Greenville and Hopkinsville. 

Buckner's men arrived in Bowling Green on October 3, 1861, after 
a march of about one hundred miles. The object of this detour was to 
arouse an interest in the Southern army and thus gain recruits, for the 
enlisting of volunteers at Owensboro and Henderson was rapidly drawing 
men into the Federal army. However, as a result of this march General 
Buckner did not increase his force by much more than a dozen citizens 
from Muhlenberg, for most of the local men who had decided to fight for 
the South had already enlisted in Doctor Pendleton's company. 

Colonel Nathan B. Forrest and about three hundred of his men were 
the next to appear on the scene in JMuhlenberg. They passed through 
Greenville on Friday morning, December 27, 1861. They had a few days 
before left Hopkinsville, which at that time and until the first part of 
February, 1862, was an outpost of the Confederate force stationed at 
Bowling Green. Colonel Forrest and his men were then on a scouting 
expedition in the territory south of Calhoun, where about a month before 
General Thomas L. Crittenden had established his headquarters. Many 
of Forrest's squadron stopped for a late breakfast at the Weir farm north 
of Greenville, which at that time was managed by an overseer who was 
evidently a Southern sympathizer, for he not only treated them to milk 
and honey but also filled many of their knapsacks from the best in his 
smokehouse. Shortly before crossing the Muhlenberg County line into 
McLean they encountered about one hundred and seventy Federal soldiers 
under Major Eli H. ]\lurray and Colonel S. P. Love, who were skirmishing 
in that neighborhood. In the battle that followed about eight men were 
killed, a dozen or more w^ounded, and a number taken prisoner. This fight 
took place on December 28, 1861, near Sacramento, in that section of 
McLean County which a few^ years before was part of Muhlenberg. 
R. T. Martin's account of this encounter is printed in this volume in his 
''Recollections of the Civil War." Descriptions of this fight are also 
published in "The Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest," by J. A. 
Wyeth, and in "Confederate Operations in Canada and New York," by 
John AV. Headley. From "The Partisan Rangers," by General Adam R. 
Johnson, I quote : 



111 a short time we [Adam R. Johnson and Robert M. Martin, scouts 
for Colonel Forrest] were on the road [from Hopkinsville] to Greenville. 
Martin's parents living in the vicinity, he determined to visit his home, 
and wanted me to accompany hiin. But I preferred to remain to meet 
Colonel Forrest if he came up. It was late in the afternoon, and I passed 
the remainder of the day in ascertaining where supplies for cavalry could 
be obtained, leaving the impression that they were for the Federal cavalry 
under Jackson. Next morning early Bob Martin rejoined me and we 
started back, meeting Forrest in the road a few miles out. When informed 
that provisions and forage were to be had, and the country was clear of 
the enemy, Forrest determined to go into the town with his little force. 

Some Federal soldiers, while watering their horses at Garst's Pond, one half mile south 

of Sacramento, McLean County, after a skirmish in Northern Muhlenberg, were 

surprised and routed by Colonel Forrest's squadron and driven 

through Sacramento to Calhoun, December 28, 1861 

A long march over the rough, muddy roads required a short rest for 
the men and horses, but Martin and I were ordered to move down the road 
to Rumsey, ascertain the movements of the Federals, and report the results 
of our observations. Pushing forward, when we reached Rumsey we ascer- 
tained that the enemy had built a pontoon bridge and were crossing their 
■cavalry. Thereupon I returned to report to Colonel Forrest, while Martin 
remained in the vicinity to observe the movements of the enemy. 

I met Forrest on the road beyond the little town of Sacramento, and 
the Colonel hurried forward his regiment to attack them. The news that 
the Federals were not far away, and that a combat was imminent, seemed to 
send a thrill of pleasure through the entire command, for these young 
warriors already felt in anticipation "the rapture of the fight." When 
the order "gallop" was given, the men who rode the fleetest steeds im- 
petuously crowded to the front. As I looked back at this confused body 
■of riders, each rushing to meet the foe first, a fearful sickening dread came 


over me which I well recall to this day, and I almost presumed to call 
Forrest's attention to this disorderly mass of men galloping pellmell at 
breakneck speed, when suddenly there came into view a young woman on 
a bareback horse, wildly dashing up, frantically waving her hat, while her 
long hair was tiying in the wind like a pennant, and her cheeks were afire 
with excitement as she exclaimed: "There the Yankees are! right over 
there!" pointing back over the hill whence she had just galloped. 

Forrest, not checking his horse in the least, shouted: "Johnson, go 
and see right where they are!" 

Letting my eager animal have the reins, I was soon up with the two 
advanced videttes of Forrest's regiment. They were fortunately riding 
good horses, and at my word increased their speed. Observing a high 
point on one side of the road not far in advance, I rode up to its summit 
and spied just over the crest of the hill a large body of cavalry drawn up 
in a V-shape and a small platoon stationed in the road in advance of the 
main force. 

I rode back rapidly to Colonel Forrest with this information ; he was 
trying to persuade the brave girl, who was riding by his side, to retire. 

I, of course, expected him to halt his disorderly men and order a proper 
formation to make battle. But this fiery leader, without checking his 
charger, galloped on until he had reached the videttes, whom I had left 
on the hilltop to watch the enemy, now quite close to them. Jerking his 
gun out of the hands of one of them, and without a moment's hesitation, 
he fired at the Federals. The Confederates in his rear gave "the wild 
Rebel yell," and the Yankee advance guard fled back to their command. 
From his post of observation Forrest could plainly see the great odds which 
he was so eager to attack, but, undisturbed, he halted his men right in 
face of the enemy and ordered his captains to reform their companies. 
Under less serious circumstances this would have seemed altogether ludi- 
crous ; as the captains rode to right and left commanding their men to 
form around them, not one of them succeeded in collecting more than a 
dozen or two men out of the confused mass, every fellow seemingly ' ' on his. 
own hook." Just at this juncture Captain Gould, of the Texas company,, 
coming up and hearing the order to form, dashed to the summit of the 
hill immediately in the front of the astonished Federals, and shouted in 
his deep, sonorous voice: "All you Texas boys rally round your leader !"^ 

Gould had more men to the front because his company had the best 
horses, and as they rushed ahead to "rally round their leader" the Federals 
likely could see their peculiar saddles and so perhaps concluded that not 
only Forrest's regiment w^as in their front, but the entire regiment of 
the Texas Rangers. At any rate, they began to fall back in disorder, and 
Forrest throwing out flankers, both right and left, adopting thus in his 
very first fight those tactics which he afterwards made so formidable, swept 
down like an avalanche upon the Federals, now in almost as much disorder 
as his men had lately been. 

The Southerners, led by this impetuous chieftain, swooped down upon 
their foes with such terrific yells and sturdy blows as might have made 
them, believe a whole army was on them, and turning tail, they fled in the 
wildest terror, a panic-stricken mass of men and horses, Forrest's men 
mixed up with them, cutting and shooting right and left, and Forrest him 
self in his fury ignoring all command and always in the thickest of the 
melee. Never in any battle did leader play a fiercer individual part than 
did Forrest on this day. With his long arm and long sword, once during- 



the fight and chase he was some distance ahead of his men, making a path- 
way as he cut and slashed on this side and that, and the demoralized 
Yankees, looking back and seeing a man whom their excited imaginations 
doubtless magnified into a veritable giant coming down upon them, pressed 
to either side, thus widening his path into a lane. Finally he came up with 
a man who had been a blacksmith, as large as himself, muscular and power- 
ful. While engaged in combat with this man, another Federal was in the 
very act of running his sword into Forrest's back, when a timely shot 
from Lieutenant Lane felled this second antagonist. Forrest hewed the 
big man to the ground by a mighty stroke. 

Near the large tree on the right, on the Greenville and Kumsey Road north of Sacramento, 

McLean County, Captain Albert G. Bacon, of the Third Kentucky Cavalry, was 

killed in the retreat of the Federals from Garst's Pond to Calhoun. 

Station Church is shown in the background 

Wildly onward rushed the fleeing and pursuing masses, all in the most 
disorderly manner, until again Forrest was engaged in an unequal contest 
with two Federal officers and a private, the latter shooting a ball through 
his collar, and Forrest quieting him with a pistol-shot just as the two 
officers made an attack upon him with their swords, which he eluded by 
bending his supple body forward, their weapons only gashing his shoulder. 
The impetus of his horse carrying him a few paces forward, he checked 
and drew him a little to one side and shot one of his antagonists as his 
horse galloped up, and thrust his saber into the other. Severely wounded, 
both of these officers fell from their steeds, which now uncontrolled, sharply 
collided with each other at full speed, falling together over the bottom of 
an abrupt hillock. Forrest, eager in the pursuit, inadvertently rode his 


horse over these two prostrate animals, causing him to fail and his rider 
to dart ten feet over his head. Seeing Forrest down, and fearing he had 
been shot, I leaped my horse over the fallen horses just in time to see him 
spring to his feet and call out : "Johnson, catch me a horse !" His own horse 
was badly crippled. Catching one that came plunging down the road, I 
handed him the bridle, but the saddle did not suit him, and while he 
was getting his own saddle his men gradually withdrew from the 

After the defeat of this cavalry force I was ordered forward to recon- 
noiter, and gathering up a few men on the way, I pushed forward to the 
top of the ridge, where I could observe the road for some distance ; finding 
it clear, I left the men there as a guard and rode back to Colonel Forrest. 
There I found Bob Martin in high glee over the role he had played 
in the late tragedy. He was leading a horse and had his belt full of 

' ' Hello, Bob ; what have you been doing ? " I asked him as I rode up. 

"I've been trying to get even with a fellow that stole my horse — old 
Beauregard," he replied laughingly, meaning the high-headed, slender- 
limbed gray horse he had lost. 

"What success?" 

"Well, here is his horse, this is his pistol, and this is his gun," he said 
as he smiled. 

"What became of the Yank?" I inquired. 

"I left him over yonder in that strip of woods you see to the left of 
that road," he replied. 

Collecting the guns which the Federals had thrown away, Forrest re- 
turned to Hopkinsville. 

Forrest's squadron passed through Greenville late Saturday afternoon, 
December 28, 1861, and that night camped at Mount Pisgah Church, near 
Pond River. In the meantime the routed Federals returned to their camp 
at Calhoun, and although General Crittenden sent out five hundred soldiers 
that same night to capture Forrest and his men, they failed to locate him. 

General Thomas L. Crittenden, who had taken command of the Federal 
forces at Owensboro on October 9, 1861 , moved his headquarters to Calhoun 
during the latter part of November. As already stated, it was while sta- 
tioned at Calhoun that some of his men encountered Colonel Forrest near 
Sacramento. On January 16th Crittenden's division moved to South Car- 
rollton, where it remained until January 28, 1862. On the two hills south 
and southwest of South Carrollton, General Crittenden threw up breast- 
works, remains of which can still be seen. In a number of places at the 
foot of these hills and in the valley between them he felled wide rows of 
trees and thus constructed an abatis for the defense of his position. What 
is now the residence of John L. Taylor stood near the camp of the Eleventh 
Kentucky Infantry, and was used by that regiment as a hospital during 
their stay at South Carrollton. General Crittenden's headquarters were 
in the hotel long known as "Our House" or "Lovelace Tavern." 

The history of Crittenden's stay in Muhlenberg is told in five of the 
official communications that passed between him and General Buell, whose 
headquarters were then in Louisville. These letters are here quoted from 
the "Official Records of the War of the Rebellion," Series I, Volume 7: 



Louisville, January 10, 1862. 
Brigadier-General T. L. Crittenden, 

Commanding Fifth Division, Calhoun, Ky. : 
Sir: The general commanding directs that you move your division 
without delay to South Carrollton or near there. Take a strong position 
on the north side of the river which can be held by a small force. 

From photograph made fifty years later 

Take your bridge with you or provide other means of crossing rapidly. 
Leave a regiment at Calhoun to guard the lock. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

James B. Fry, 
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff. 

Calhoun, January 18, 1862. 
J. B. Fry, Assistant Adjutant-General: 

Captain: My entire command is now here. The Fourteenth Brigade, 
under Colonel Jones, and Jackson's cavalry reached here yesterday evening. 

On the 16th instant we crossed the river at Calhoun and marched to 
Sacramento, with all our wagons, bringing nothing but a little forage. 
The roads of course are bad, but we got there without accident or damage. 
Colonel Cruft's command was so conducted as to occupy the town before 
the inhabitants were aware of the approach of troops. 

The order to march, though dated the 10th, did not reach me until 
the 14th. This made me, of course, more anxious to be rapid in my move- 



ment. To do this I was forced to cross at Calhoun and march to South 
Carrollton, on the south side of the river. I considered this movement 
imprudent unless South Carrollton was first occupied. For this reason 
Craft's command was sent by the steamboat and barges, as the only expe- 
ditious way of occupying the town. 1 confess to great anxiety of mind 
when I saw over 2,000 troops crowded on the boats, and determined that, 
except in a great emergency, I would not start such another expedition. 
In the present condition of the road it would have taken me five or six days 
to reach this place, marching by the north side of the river. 





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My command is now in South Carrollton, on the south side of the 
river. This is, I am aware, in violation of General. Buell's order, at least 
the spirit of it. It is impossible to execute the order, there being no strong 
position on the north side of the river in the vicinity of South Carrollton. 

Unless I occupied this place, 1,000 men could have stopped me from 
crossing at any point where there is a road by which I could march. This 
is a position of great strength and my command ought to hold it against 
15,000 good troops. 

If I must move to the north side of the river, I will be compelled to go 
at least 2 miles back to find ground high enough to camp on, and it would 
take me two days to cross the river here if ordered to advance. I consider 
my command safe here. I assure you I have endeavored to obey orders, 
and have done so as far as practieal)le — obeying what I considered most 
important where all could not be obeyed. I could not have secured a 
passage across the river at or near this place by occupying any position 
m the vicinity of South Carrollton, on the north side of the river. 



For miles around this place, on the north side of the river, the land 
is fiat, and so low as to overflow when the river is up. If I move over and 
cross this flat, as I should be compelled to do, and the river should rise, 
I could not cross at all. 

South Carrollton is situated on a hill, rising abruptly from the river, 
150 feet high. There are only two ways of approaching the place from the 
south — one by the road which I came, through a swamp, and which could 
be defended by a small force; the other through a wooded country and 
up hill. 


Captain Edwards, of the U. S. Army, doubtless known to you as an 
educated and accomplished soldier, fully concurs in my views as to the 
strength of the place. With another battery of artillery it seems to me 
I could hold the place until starved out, and as it is can hold it against 
any force the enemy can send. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

T. L. Crittenden, 
Brigadier-General, Commanding. 


South Carrollton, January 27, 1862. 
Captain J. B. Fry, 

Assistant Adjutant-General. 
Captain : I have heard that a large force from Bowling Green had 
come under Buckner to Russellville, with a view to intercept me if I advance 
or come here and attack me if I remain for any length of time where I am. 


I am strongly posted, and am making my position stronger by erecting 
earthworks on the heights for the protection of the men. 

I should have no apprehension for the result if attacked by 15,000 
men, the reported force of the enemy with which w^e are threatened, but 
shall, of course, use every exertion to become still stronger. 

If I am to remain here any time a few guns in position would aid me 

Most respectfully, your obedient servant, 

T. L. Crittenden, 
Brigadier-General, Commanding. 


Louisville, January 28, 1862. 
Brigadier-General T. L. Crittenden, 

Commanding Fifth Division, South Carrollton: 
Sir: It is presumed that you have before this received the general's 
dispatch of the 24th (26th) instant, directing the return of your division 
to Calhoun, and the general trusts that you have complied with it. 

Your position at South Carrollton (being on the south side of Green 
River, which is impassable at this time) is a very unsafe one, and you 
will lose no time-in moving your command to Calhoun and placing yourself 
on the north side of Green River. 

If you should be attacked or too seriously threatened to undertake this 
move with time to accomplish it, you must, of course, *def end yourself to 
the last extremity in the strongest position you can take, and see that the 
enemy does not cut your line of communication at or near Calhoun. It 
is hoped, however, that you Avill move to Calhoun promptly and without 

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

James B. Fry, 
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff. 


South Carrollton, January 28, 1862. 
General Buell, 

Commanding Department of the Ohio : 

General: Your dispatch of the 26th instant was received before day- 
light this morning, and the barges and steamboats are now being loaded 
with commissary stores and forage. I shall get the supplies which I have 
of these things to Calhoun before night, I hope, and the boat back during 
the night. I hear of no advance of the enemy, and unless I do, will march 
back, as soon as I can rid myself of every incumbrance, by the road I came. 
It is a very bad road, but the best and much the shortest. It would be 
almost impossible for me to cross the river here, because of the steep and 
muddy banks and the high water. I shall endeavor to have every possible 
arrangement made to cross the wagons and troops with despatch as soon 
as they arrive opposite to Calhoun. 

Owing to the terrible condition of the roads between here and Calhoun 
I shall send my camp equipage by the boats, so as to have my wagons light 
as possible. I shall send down at least a regiment in the same way, with 
instructions to construct a bridge of the boats by the time I arrive with 
the troops and train, and if the current of the river is too swift for the 
bridge, to make the best possible arrangements for ferrying. 



This evening or to-morrow morning I will send Colonel Jackson with 
500 cavalry, to Greenville, to remain there until I leave here with the 
column, and then march to Sacramento by the road leading from Greenville 
to that place. 

This, I think, will certainly conceal my movements until I have actually 
started, and protect me on the only quarter from which I could be sur- 
prised and harassed by cavalry. I anticipate, however, no difficulty except 
from the roads and river, though I will prepare as well as I can for every 
kind of difficulty. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

T. L. Crittenden, 
Brigadier-General, Commanding. 

N. B.- — I cannot send you a telegram, because I cannot spare a boat, 
and the high water has obstructed the right road to Evansville. I hope 
this letter will reach Owensboro to-night, and, if so, it will be the quickest 
way in which I can communicate with you. 


T. L. C. 

There were five Kentucky and four Indiana regiments at Calhoun under 
General Crittenden until the early part of January, when the Seventeenth 
and Twenty-fifth Kentucky Infantry and the Thirty-first and Forty-fourth 
Indiana Infantry were ordered 
to join General Grant, who was 
then directing his movements 
against Forts Henry and 
Donelson. His division at 
South Carrollton consisted of 
the Eleventh and Twenty-sixth 
Kentucky Infantry, Third Ken- 
tucky Cavalry, the Forty- 
second and Forty-third Indiana 
Infantry, and Behr's battery 
of artillery, making a total of a 
little less than five thousand 
soldiers, not including the men 
who were left at Calhoun to bethlehem baptist church, near Bremen 
guard the locks. 

On February 16, 1862, a little m'ore than two weeks after General 
Crittenden returned to Calhoun from South Carrollton, his men were 
ordered to Tennessee. Some of the infantry marched to Owensboro and 
proceeded by steamers to Nashville, while others were taken down Green 
and Ohio rivers and up the Cumberland to the same place. The Third 
Kentucky Cavalry marched from Calhoun through Muhlenberg County to 
Nashville. They spent the first night in and around Bethlehem Baptist 
Church, near Bremen, and the next day resumed their trip up the Rumsey 
Road to Greenville, where they halted a few hours. The second night they 
camped on McClelland 's Hill, including what is now the Alvin L. Taylor 
farm, on which was planted, in 1907, what has since been known as " Alvin 's 



Avenue." From McClelland 's Hill the cavalry continued their march south. 
General Crittenden's men were reunited in Nashville and later proceeded 
to Pittsburg Landing, where as part of General Buell's army they came to 
the relief of General Grant and helped save the day for the Federals at 

Many letters were undoubtedly written to their families and friends 
by Muhlenberg men while in the army, and a number of them, I hope, are 
still preserved. However, only a few have been submitted to me. One of 
these was written by E. R. Weir, jr., then captain of Company B, Eleventh 


Kentucky Infantry, and addressed to Jesse H. Reno, who was quarter- 
master of that regiment until about the middle of May, 1862, when on 
account of ill health he resigned and returned to his home in Greenville. 
This letter is dated "Field of Shiloah, April 24, 1862," which was seven- 
teen days after the fight. Before quoting this letter it may be well to 
explain why the writer was still on the field so long after the battle. 

The battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, was fought on Sunday and 
Monday, April 6 and 7, 1862. Immediately after this bloody fight Generals 
Buell and Grant began making preparations to attack the somewhat 
shattered army of Confederates who were retreating to Corinth, in Northern 
Mississippi, about twenty miles from Shiloh. The Federals were about 
ready to pursue when, on April 12th, General Halleck arrived on the scene, 
and being superior in rank took chief command of the troops. The army 
loitered on the battlefield awaiting the arrival of more forces ordered by 
General Halleck. The march of the augmented army against General 
Beauregard at Corinth did not begin until April 27th. It was during this 


delay on the field of Shiloh that E. R. Weir, jr., wrote to his friend Jesse 
H. Reno. It is printed as written, as a battlefield souvenir. 

Field of Shiloah, April 24, 1862. 

Dear Reno : — On the morning of the first day of battle we were within 
9 miles of Savannah. About 7 o'clock A. M. Sunday we heard the fire 
of cannon in the distance. Orders were given to forward in quick time. 
Of course our boys pushed forward with speed. We arrived within one 
mile of Savannah at 1 o'clock P. M. Our General then received orders that 
we were not wanted, so we began to pitch tents. 

About sundown we were ordered forward to Savannah. We then took 
transportation to Pittsburg Landing, arriving at Pittsburg Landing at 
about 11 o'clock P. M. We remained under arms until daylight when we 
were ordered out to the field about 2 miles from the Landing, toward 

Our Brigade was composed of the 13th Ohio, 26th & 11th Ky. and the 
14tli Wisconsin. The 13th Ohio was drawn up on the left, the 26th next 
& the 14th Wis. next. We were ordered to the support of INIendenhall's 
Battery. We were drawn up in its rear & were ordered to lie down so as 
to protect ourselves from the bombs. But we were not suffered to remain 
long in this position, for the 14th commenced giving way & we were ordered 
to take its place. General Crittenden gave the order to charge bayonets. 

The Eleventh, with shouts of Kentucky & Crittenden rushed forward 
about 300 yards beyond our lines. Capt. Isaac R. Sketo here fell by my 
side ; also John B. Morgan who was in our advance. Capt. Jeff'. Roark was 
also wounded. Having broken our ranks & being exposed to the direct & 
cross fire of their Batteries we w^ere compelled to fall back and form. At 
the 2nd charge we advanced about 800 yards beyond our line of battle. 
In the charge we took four guns & six cannon from the enemy, bayonetting 
the cannoneers at their post. Having completely routed them in front we 
were about to be flanked; so we fell back to our line of battle. Having 
reformed we advanced slowly on our second charge, reinforced by Bart- 
lett's Battery & the 13th Ky. under Col. Grider on our left. We took 
possession of the Battery ; the enemy were put to flight on our right & left. 
They fled in a great rout, leaving behind everything of value. Guns, casons, 
muskets, rifles & knapsacks were scattered in every direction. Our cavalry 
followed them for 5 or 6 miles until night overtook them. 

I can form no estimate of the amount of dead Rebels. In front of where 
we fought were 300 or 400. We had the advantage of them ; their shot 
would fall short of us by 20 or 30 feet nearly always. During the day we 
fought against Gen. Withers of Mississippi under Gen. Beauregard. At 
one time we were fighting against the 5th Ky. Rebels. 

Some of our boys said that they recognized one as Charles W. Rothrock ; 
Charles McBride was almost confident that it was he. I did not know him 
well enough to say. Ben Jernigan, from near Greenville, was pointed out to 
me by Louis Dwyer. M. C. Hay was wounded & taken prisoner by our forces. 

After the battle I went over the battle field, at least over about one 
fourth of it. No pen can tell of its horrors; thousands lay dead. At some 
places 200 or 300 were upon one acre of ground. On Tuesday a detail of 
about 5000 men began the burying of the dead. Our men were, of course, 
buried first. The work steadily progressed until Friday when all in the 
immediate neighborhood of our camps were interred. The number on 
Thursday evening was upward of 7800. 


Not long ago we were ordered out on picket duty about 3 miles from 
our camp. The road all the way was strewed with knapsacks, guns, cannon, 
etc. During the day I went beyond our lines about three fourths of a mile. 
I found, I believe it was, nineteen dead Rebels in one pile that had been 
left behind by them in their flight. A little below we found about 2000 
knapsacks. Our scouts bring in the report that the road out of Corinth 
is blockaded for miles with wagons and caissons. These are plain facts 
about the battle. 

If the Rebels say in jMuhlenberg that they won the battle, it is a fabrica- 
tion. You can tell them there is a day of retribution coming yet. The 
boys of ]\Iuhlenberg and the men that chased them down last winter when 
they were on furloughs, can never live together again ; one or the other 
of us will have to leave the country forever. When we return home we will 
have no military law to restrain us and we will clean out the County of our 
enemies. All of us have strong hands and willing hearts for a work of this 
kind. We can never live together; they shall drive us or we them. 



I do not know, positively, to what incident Weir refers in the last 
paragraph of his letter. It may be he had in mind what has since become 
known as "Old Ed's Rush to Rumsey, " the story of which is as follows: 

One day in February, 1862, a band of about ten desperate-looking young 
men entered Greenville. Some of them, it is said, were citizens of the 
county, among whom were a few Confederate soldiers then on furlough. It 
appears that these young men came to the conclusion that if they captured 
Edward R. Weir, sr., they could hold him for a large ransom, for he was 
one of the most ardent workers for the Federal army in the county. 

Anna Weir, his daughter, was at home sitting near a window, and when 
she saw the crowd coming in the yard she started toward the front door, 
where she met them with a pistol in her hand. The leader asked her 
whether "Old Man Ed" was in the house. Although she knew that her 
father was in his room taking a nap, she did not answer the question, but 
asked them to tell her the nature of their call. They shouted that they had 
come "to get Old Ed's scalp and meant to have it." Her serving- woman, 
Elvira, hearing this threat, quietly entered the house, woke Mr. Weir, and 
informed him of what was taking place downstairs, and added : "I jes' know 
Miss Anna aims to hoi' 'em till you can haste away." 

In the meantime Anna Weir was detaining the band, for she felt con- 
fident that neither her father nor any other man would trust his life in the 
hands of such characters, and that he, if he had a chance to escape from 
them, would do so. 

While she was talking to the mob and thus gaining time for her father, 
one of the men attempted to pull down the flag that hung from a pole near 
the front of the house. Perceiving his intention, she raised her pistol and 
aimed it at him, saying, "If you touch that flag I'll kill you and as many 
others of your gang as I can. It's my father's flag and mine too and I'll 
die by it. I tell you father's not on the place, but I'm here and I'm ready 
to die by that flag now or at any other time !" 



After Mr. Weir heard Elvira's warning he took a peep at the noisy 
crowd, and after telling her he would leave sent the woman back to her 
mistress. He crawled out of a back window, ran down to the stable, and 
ordered his negro, Lewis, to saddle his swift horse "Jack Monkey." He 
mounted the animal and was soon on his way toward Rumsey, where a 
number of Federal soldiers were guarding the lock and dam. Anna Weir 
refused to let the crowd search the house, and although they did not enter 
they nevertheless soon left convinced that "Old Man Ed" was not at home. 

Built in 1839, occupied by the Weirs for seventy years, now the home of L. Z. Kirkpatrick. 

A little less than seven months after the battle of Shiloh, and about ten 
months after General Forrest had had his encounter with the Federals 
near Sacramento, General John H. Morgan passed through Muhlenberg 
County. Immediately after the battle of Perryville, October 7, 1862, 
General Bragg 's army withdrew from Kentucky. During this withdrawal 
General Morgan, at the head of a command of about eighteen hundred men, 
took an independent westerly course and on November 4th arrived at 
Gallatin, Tennessee. General Morgan entered IMuhlenberg County at 
Skilesville. All local traditions bearing on this subject give the time of his 
arrival as Friday night, October 24, 1862. General Basil W. Duke, in his 
"History of Morgan's Cavalry" places the date two days earlier. General 
Morgan was then on his ten days ' march from Gum Springs to Hopkinsville. 
He traveled via Elizabethtown, crossed Green River at Morgantown and 
Mud River at Rochester, and from there proceeded to Greenville, and on 
Sunday, October 26th, started for Christian County. 

General Duke, in his history, devotes only a few lines to Morgan's 
march through Muhlenberg County, all of which I here quote. After 


stating that he left Morgantown on the morning of October 23, 1862, 
General Duke says (page 204) : 

"We crossed ^lud River that night at Rochester, on a bridge con- 
structed of three flat-boats, laid endwise, tightly bound together, and 
propped, where the water was deep, by beams passing under the bottoms 
of each one and resting on the end of the next; each receiving this sort of 
support they mutually braced each other. A planking, some five feet wide, 
was then laid, and the horses, wagons and artillery were crossed without 
trouble. The bridge was built in about two hours. On the 24th we reached 
Greenville; that night a tremendous snow fell — tremendous, at least, for 
the latitude and season. After crossing Mud River there was no longer 
cause for apprehension, and we marched leisurely. ' ' 

^Morgan's cavalry passed through Greenville during the afternoon of 
October 25, 1862. Morgan spent the greater part of that evening in Green- 
ville, and in the meantime his men camped near the Joe C. Reynolds place, 
about three miles southwest of town. It was an exceedingly cold day for 
that season. That night his tired soldiers, as usual, slept under theii- 
blankets in long rows. They were unmindful of the snow which fell softly 
above them, hiding alike the sod and the sleepers and forming what ap- 
peared to be a snow-covered graveyard, for each soldier's snow-heaped 
body made a distinct mound in this camp-ground of Morgan's Immortals. 
When the bugler sounded his bugle for rising, he beheld a scene which well 
might make one think of that last day when Gabriel shall blow another 
trumpet, for each snow-covered grave opened and gave up, not its dead, 
but its living. 

From the beginning of the Civil War until its close many good and bad 
reports and true and false alarms were constantly being put into circula- 
tion. John R. Randolph, in his "A Muhlenberger 's Recollections of 1862," 
published in the ^Muhlenberg Sentinel, May 5, 1911, gives an account of 
two incidents which, in their general character, are representative of the 
experiences many people in the county were subjected to throughout the 
war : 

When the Civil War broke out, Clark's Mill, on Pond River, near Harp's 
Hill, was in full operation. Clark ran the mill and Eaves conducted a 
dry-goods and grocery store. Clark and Eaves each owned 30 or 40 slaves. 
This mill was one of the largest and best known mills along Pond River. 
Besides his many slaves, Clark employed a number of families who lived 
in the immediate vicinity of the mill. In fact, the place looked more like a 
small town than a mere store and mill. Clark and Eaves were both clever 
men and well liked by all who had any dealings with them. 

Nearly all the people in that vicinity in Hopkins County, and nearly all 
those who lived in Muhlenberg near Clark's Mill and Harp's Hill, were 
Southern sympathizers. The mill soon became a great gathering-place for 
those who had war measures to propose or war news to tell. 

It was well known that my father, Ashford D. Randolph, was not only 
a strong Union sympathizer but also did all he could for the Union men. 
He was very outspoken, and his remarks frequently incurred the ill-will of 
those who differed with him on the situation. Many who were his best 
friends during his free-trade days became his bitterest enemies. 


In the summer of 1862, after both Northern and Southern armies had 
gone South, a number of prowling guerillas began to form themselves into 
little squads. One day a band of guerillas came to Clark's Mill, and in the 
course of a few hours a number of their sympathizei's appeared on the 
scene. Two of these sympathizers told the captain of this band that my 
father was making himself conspicuous in the Union cause and that they 
wanted him disposed of. In this band was one of my father's nephews, 
who was acquainted with his uncle's habits. This kinsman knew that if at 
any time the chickens on his place squalled he would get out of bed at once 
to investigate the nature of the disturbance in his hen-house. This nephew, 
therefore, assured the band that they could get my father by simply 
making a chicken squall : and he further suggested that when my father 
stepped out of the door on his way to the chicken-house, any one could 
easily "blaze away at him." After a little discussion of the matter it was 
decided that some of the band should march over and kill my father that 

There was a school going on at Clark's Mill that summer. One of the 
scholars was standing in the crowd of men and overheard all their plans. 
That evening, as soon as school was dismissed, he sent word to our home. 
It was getting dark w^hen the message reached us. My father and those 
of our family who were at home talked the matter over and agreed that 
father should take his gun, leave the house and stay out in the woods until 
the band left. So, he started out at about 10 o'clock. 

Sliortly after he had gone we heard the chicken squall. ]\Iy brother's 
wife looked out of the wdndow and saw four men, one holding a chicken 
and the other three standing behind some low shrubbery and ready to shoot. 
Seeing no men come to the windows or door, the band after a while 
evidently concluded that no men folks were at home, and therefore left 
the place. 

My father saw the guerillas as they walked away and could easily have 
shot one or two of them, but decided that, under the circumstances, he had 
better let them escape, rather than suffer any outrages the survivors and 
their associates might commit on the place. Suspicious-looking men prowled 
around our home for about a week, and my father did not stay at home at 
night until he felt confident they had left the country. 

One night in the winter of 1862, after Capt. Netter, of the 26th Ken- 
tucky Infantry, had attempted to destroy the L. & N. bridge across Whip- 
poor-will Creek, my father was hailed by some one at the gate. He opened 
the door and learned that the man who had called was George Driskill, pilot- 
ing Netter 's men. Driskill had heard that my father was always ready 
and willing to help a Federal, so he came to our house for assistance. He 
had six or seven men with him, all of whom were wounded. One soldier, 
by the name of John Mayhan, was so sick he could not move any farther. 
He was left at our house, while my father piloted the others toward 

The next day was mill day and I was sent to Clark's Mill. This mill 
stood on the bank of Pond River, but the store was on a rise overlooking 
the bottoms on the Hopkins County side. From the store we had a clear 
view, for almost a mile, of the road leading in the direction of Hopkinsville. 

While I was standing on the platform in front of the store I looked 
across the river and saw about a dozen mounted men, each carrying a gun. 
I asked the merchant, who was weighing something on the scales, who these 
mounted men were. He looked up the road and then said, ''By George! 


It is the cavalry!" I knew they couldn't be Union soldiers, for they were 
coming from the wrong direction, and besides the appearance of their uni- 
forms, even from that distance, indicated that they were not Federals. My 
first thought was of the sick and crippled John j\Iayhan. It struck me that 
this squad was on its way to our house after him or any other of Netter's 
men. I also thought of the many bad things this squad might do to our 
home and farm should they find ^Nlayhan quartered there. I took another 
good look at the approaching cavalry. They were now about a half mile 
from the store. I ran down to the mill, got my horse, and asked the miller 
to bring out my turn. He did so, and threw the bag of meal over the 
horse's back. This miller was generally very careless about balancing a 
sack for a boy, but this time he happened to strike even halves. I don't 
think there was an ounce difference in the ends. I poked out my foot to 
the miller and he hoisted me on the horse, for I was then only twelve 
years old, and after adjusting the bag I started off in a gallop. I knew every 
hog-path and short cut between the mill and our home. Over the most 
direct of these I hurried as fast as I could, up hill and down hill and 
through the woods, until I came to the fence at the back of my father's 
farm ; I got off my horse, laid down a few rails, climbed back on the animal 
and went tearing through the fields. "When I came within hearing distance 
of the house I yelled, ' ' Get Mayhan out to the weeds, for the Rebel cavalry 
is coming after him ! ' ' 

There happened to be several men at our house when I got there, and my 
father said to them that ^layhan must be saved at all hazards. He and the 
men rushed upstairs to where the sick man lay and told him the Rebel 
cavalry were coming after him. When my father picked up Mayhan to 
carry him down the steps jNIayhan begged the men to let him jump down to 
the lower floor, saying that if it killed him he would be better off. But my 
father said, "No, I'll take care of you at the risk of my own life." 

While my father was carrying him down he shouted to some of the other 
men to bring the feather bed and some quilts. They carried Mayhan out 
into the woods, laid him on the feather bed, spread the quilts over him, then 
covered him with leaves, and returned to the house. In the meantime my 
mother performed her part. She rearranged the vacated bed and made it 
look like it had not been occupied. 

We waited and waited, but the Rebel cavalry never came. Finally my 
father sent out one of the men to spy around. He returned wath the in- 
formation that the cavalry had gone to old man George W. Eaves' farm on 
Pond River to get some hogs for the Rebel soldiers located at Hopkinsville. 

When the men learned this, they realized that the alarm I had given 
was a false alarm, so they brought ]\Iayhan back into the house. A few 
days later my father disguised his patient, put him in a buggy, and sent 
him to Calhoun, where a regiment of Federal soldiers was still encamped. 

The spring of 1863 marked the beginning of the third year of the Civil 
War. Of the many letters that were sent by ^luhlenberg men while serving 
in the army only a few, as previously stated, have fallen into my hands. 
The one written by E. R. Weir while at Shiloh has already been quoted. 
Among the others is a letter of different character, but it serves as a sample 
of its kind. The writer, by taking his "pen in hand," succeeds in telling, 
in his own way, something about liis life with the soldiers in Warren 
County : 


Bowlingreen, Ky. 
April 23th, 1863. 

Mr. R. C. J. I with pleasure take my pen in hand once more to drop 
you a few lines and I am happy to say thes lins leaves me in good helth 
and I hope when this coms to hand it will find you and famly injoying 
good helth. I have nuthing interestin to writ this time, only the boys 
is all in good helth and as lively as ever. I am agoin to send you the 
history of this Eegment to you and I want you to get a fram and put it 
in if you pleas. I wood be glad if I could com home once more but thar 
is no chance. I wood be glad to see you all, but you must writ, it gives 
me much plasure to Read your leters, tell Jeff that pal he is well and ed 
is not hear, he is in scotts ville, but when he left he was well but wee ar 
looking for them back every day. 

]\Iy Respecs to sarah Jane and I hope you ar well, I have had my 
picture taken and I tell you it is nice, it looks very much like me I think, 
but I was mad when it was taken, and I will tell you weir mounted but 
I gess you have heard it before now, and we will make the grillars get up 
and cluck when wee will get after them on our old broak down horses, 
and when the boys chases one anuther tha want to no what tha hav dun 
that tha ar ridin a rail, so no more of my foolshines. So I must clos, you 
must writ soon, so nuthin more only far you well. 

B. G. W. 

Two letters written during the latter part of 1863 by D. C. Humphreys, 
of Spring Station. Woodford County, to Gilbert Vaught Rhoads, contain 
much that pertains to this period of Muhlenberg's history. D. C. Humph- 
reys for many years owned a tract of timber land lying near the Louisville 
& Nashville Railroad, between Browder and Bellton. Shortly before the 
Civil War broke out Alexander Todd came to Muhlenberg to look after 
this land for his uncle, and with a view of making this his permanent 
home. He opened a small farm and built a cabin, in which he lived for 
a few years. D. C. Humphreys' sister, Elizabeth Humphreys, was the 
second wife of Robert S. Todd, who by his first wife was the father of 
six children (among whom w^as Mrs. Abraham Lincoln) and by his 
second wife was the father of seven children, among whom was Alexander 
Todd and Mrs. Ben Hardin Helm. Alexander Todd, having received a 
special invitation from Abraham Lincoln, went from Muhlenberg County 
to Washington City to witness the inauguration of his brother-in-law, 
March 4, 1861. Shortly after his return he joined the Southern army, 
became ordnance sergeant in the First Kentucky Cavalry, was made aide- 
de-camp on the staff of General Ben Hardin Helm, and on August 5, 1862, 
was killed at Baton Rouge. "Aleck" Todd was a bright young man, and 
during his stay of a few years in the county was a great favorite among 
the old people as well as among those of his own age. Although he had 
a well-furnished cabin of his own, he spent much of his time in the homes 
of two of his neighbors, David and Absalom J. Rhoads. Alexander Todd, 
after his death, was succeeded as overseer of the Humphrey tract by his 
friend Gilbert V. Rhoads : 


Spring Station, Kentucky. 

13th November, 1863. 

Gilbert V. Rhoads, Esq. — My dear friend : — Your very acceptable letter 
of 30th September I received a short time since. It arrived while I was 
absent in Illinois which will account for your not receiving an answer 
sooner. I am happy to learn you have recovered from the dangerous 
attack of sickness you had in June last, and that you bid fair to be in the 
enjoyment of your usual health again. What a blessing it is to enjoy 
health and how thankful we all are to Him in whom we live and move 
and have our being for it. 

I have been anxious for two years to pay you a visit, and had made 
my arrangements to send some hands down to open a large tobacco farm, 
but this cruel and unnatural war has broken up all my arrangements, 
and now I don't think it worth while to count upon the work or value of 
my negro labour. If the war lasts much longer all our young and valuable 
negroe men will be pressed into the service to make railroads, cut wood, 
drive wagons, make fortifications or perhaps enlisted as soldiers. I think 
the abolitionists are determined to give a finishing blow to slavery in 
America. Should they succeed I pity the poor negroes. I hope God will 
overrule and govern all things for our present and eternal good, the good 
of his church and his glory. 

I have been speaking to a man who has lived with me several years 
about going to Muhlenberg and living on my land. He has not yet made 
up his mind on the subject. I don't wish you to rent my place to any 
one until you hear from me. My rent corn dispose of as soon as you can 
for the best price you can get, and retain the money in your hands until 
further instructions. Write to me and let me know the amount you receive 
for it. Corn here is in good demand at $3.00 per barrel in the field and 
will be higher. The crop of corn in Indiana and Illinois is very poor ; the 
drought and the early frost have cut it down to almost nothing in places. 
Last year in Illinois I got only 121/2 cents per bushell for my rent corn; 
this year I am offered 40 cents. 

I am glad to learn that my old friend Mrs. Rachael Rhoads is still 
enjoying good health. Remember me kindly to her and all the family. 
Give my kindest regards to my old friend Isaac Woods who I sincerely 
hope is prepared to live or prepared to die whenever God in his providence 
shall see fit to call him. When you see Mr. Baker remember me to him 
and his wife whose kindness and hospitality I can never forget. 

My family are all well except my grandson David who has been confined 
for seven weeks with a swelled knee. I fear it is white swelling. He is 
much better and I hope will recover without a stiff knee. 

Write me soon and believe me sincerely Your friend, 

D. C. Humphreys. 

Spring Station, Kentucky. 

9th December, 1863. 

Mr. G. V. Rhoads,— Dear Sir :— I am just in receipt of your kind letter 
of 21st November which by some mistake was missent. I am glad to learn 
you are enjoying peace and quietness and sincerely hope you may long be 
exempt from the horrors of war. It is bad enough at a distance, but when 
it comes into our own houses it is dreadful. 

I notice your remarks about Chancy. My sister Mrs. Todd is now in 
Alabama where she got permission from President Lincoln to go for her 


daughter (who was married to General Helm who was killed at the battle 
of Chickamauga.) She gave me no special directions about Chancy, but 
I am satisfied she wishes her and her son and daughter hired out and 
would consult Chancy 's wish in a considerable measure as to whom she 
would like to live with. Certainly from my knowledge of Mr. Taggart 
my sister will have no objection to his having Chancy, and if he is willing 
to give a fair price for Chancy and she is anxious to live with him, let 
him have her. 

You said nothing in your letter about my rent corn for the year 1863. 
"Write to me about it on receipt. 

I would like to pay a short visit to Muhlenberg this winter if I thought 
the Guerillas would not overhaul me. I hope the country will soon be 
free of them. 

Remember me to Mrs. Rachael Rhoads and all the family and accept 
for yourself and family my best wishes for your health, happiness and 
prosperity. Yours truly, 

D. C. Humphreys. 

These two letters, it might be well to add, were found in the attic of 
an old two-story w'eatherboarded log house standing on a hill overlooking 
Browder. A few years ago a number of old papers, regarded as rubbish 
by the man who had rented the house, were burned after they had been 
removed from between two of the logs in the wall of this building. Evi- 
dently these tw^o had slipped dow-n behind the lower log when the other 
letters were removed. At any rate, they were there discovered by Miss 
Amy M. Longest, who recognized their value as documents bearing on 
local history. 

On or about May 10, 1864, there took place what is known as the Fight 
at Sullivan's Barn. Captain Henry L. Vickers, a recruiting officer for the 
Southern army, whose home was near Paradise and who while a member 
of Company C, Ninth Kentucky Infantry, was wounded at Shiloh, was 
scouting in Ohio and McLean counties and had with him sixteen Con- 
federates, most of whom were recruits. In their march through Ohio 
County this squad appropriated a horse belonging to Ashby Woodward. 
When Woodw^ard discovered that his animal had been taken he declared he 
''would get his horse back or die in the attempt." He reported the robbery 
to his brother, Captain Steven Woodward, of the Twenty-sixth Kentucky 
Infantry, who was an officer of the Home Guards of McLean and Ohio 
-counties, and who immediately organized a pursuing party of about 
thirty-two men. 

In the meantime Captain Vickers and his squad rode toward Green 
River, crossed that stream at Point Pleasant, four miles below South Car- 
rollton, and at about four o'clock in the evening arrived on the Raleigh 
Sullivan farm in Northern Muhlenberg, three miles west of Green River. 
Knowing that he had come to the home of a Southern sympathizer. Captain 
Vickers asked Sullivan for food for his men and forage for his horses, 
v^rhich request was readily complied with. 

After feeding their animals in the barn all the men walked to the 
house, a distance of about one hundred yards, to eat the meal that had 
teen prepared for them. They, however, failed to put out any sentries. 



This was either through an oversight or because Captain Vickers felt 
confident that such a precaution was unnecessary. At any rate, he 
evidently anticipated no trouble or attack, and least of all did he suspect 
that the owner of the stolen horse had traced the theft to them and that a 
pursuing party was near at hand. 

While Captain Vickers and his men were enjoying their meal, Robert 
N. Sullivan, the son of their host, heard two gunshots fired somewhere on 
the north or far side of the barn. The boy rushed into the house and gave 
the alarm. These two shots had been fired by Captain Woodward's pur- 


suing Federals, who, believing that they were close upon the Confederates^ 
wished to learn whether or not Vickers' men were concealed in the barn, 
and also desired to draw their fire in order to approximate the size of 
the squad. 

As soon as Captain Vickers learned that the Federals were upon him 
he rose from the table, and grasping a revolver in either hand and calling 
to his men to follow him, ran toward the barn. Most of Captain Wood- 
ward's soldiers were in the barn, and Captain Vickers was therefore unable 
to form any idea as to the size of the party he was attacking. There being- 
only a few Federals in sight, he told his comrades they "would soon chase 
the Yanks away," and ordered them to rush forward and to fire as they 
advanced. When they had covered about half the distance to the barn, 
crossing the little ravine that separates the two elevations upon which the- 
house and barn stand, one of the Confederates, Mitchell, a boy about sixteen 
years of age, was shot through the bowels and fatally wounded. The Con- 
federates continued their advance, and in the meantime the Federals fell 
back on the north side of the barn. 


This retreat gave Captain Vickers' men temporary possession of the 
building. While attempting to hold a position near the entry until his 
men could get their horses, Captain Vickers sought to shield himself behind 
a narrow post. This post probably saved his life, for while he was standing 
behind it a Federal soldier fired at him with a gun loaded with buckshot, 
two of which lodged in Captain Vickers' neck, inflicting painful though 
not serious wounds. The shooting continued for about five minutes, when 
the Confederates, having regained their horses, hastily retreated under 
fire. They ran down the road and around a hill, and soon got beyond the 
reach of bullets. 

As a result of this fight the young Confederate, Mitchell, who had been 
shot, died in the Sullivan home a few hours later. His body was interred 
in the New Hope Church burying-ground near by and remained there for 
a number of years, when it was exhumed by relatives and taken to Daviess 
County. Captain Vickers was captured and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio, 
where he was imprisoned until the close of the war. A young unwounded 
Tennessean was captured near the barn. The Federals lost one man, 
Ashby Woodward, who was shot through the heart. His corpse was taken 
to his home near Livermore. Only one of Captain Woodward's squad was 
wounded — a man named King, who was shot in the leg. A horse owned 
by the Federals, another belonging to the Confederates, and five of Sulli- 
van's sheep that were penned up in the barn preparatory to shearing, were 
killed in the fight. 

That night Captain Woodward quartered his troops in the Sullivan 
house, which he kept well protected during his stay by posting sentries 
in the immediate neighborhood. The next morning he returned to Ohio 
County with his two prisoners; not with the stolen horse, but with the 
corpse of Ashby Woodward, who the day before had declared that he 
''would get his horse back or die in the attempt." 

One day tow^ard the end of December, 1864, the people living in and 
near Greenville were very much aroused by what might be called "a false 
alarm." It was reported that General Hylan B. Lyon had burned the 
courthouse at IVIadisonville and was on his way to Greenville and Hartford 
to burn the courthouses there. When this report reached Greenville the 
citizens became alarmed and immediately prepared to defend the place. 
All the people, whether sympathizing with the North or the South, 
seem to have ignored their antagonistic principles and stood united in their 
desire to save the courthouse. They made ready to resist by improvising 
what might serve the purpose of defense works. Alfred Johnson and 
Henry Jenkins were then building the stone jail. These two men pushed 
out a few stones from its unfinished walls and thus constructed some port- 
holes. The brick building on the northwest corner of Court Square was 
converted into a fort. The w^indows on the second floor of the Weir store 
were opened and arranged as places to shoot from, and in one of the brick 
walls which had no windows two holes w-ere cut. 

While all these preparations were being made, some of the people became 
very excited and others grew very impatient. Sebastian C. Vick, or ''Cap- 
tain Bass Vick," as he was called, was in town at the head of a company 


of citizen-soldiers. After the supposed time of General Lyon's arrival 
had passed, Bass Yiek and his men mounted their horses and rode up 
the Lower Hopkinsville Road, hoping to locate the expected enemy. How- 
ever, they saw nothing of him. When they reached Mount Pisgah Church 
they concluded that General Lyon must have heard of Greenville's prepara- 
tions for defense and therefore had marched on and left the place in the 
hands of its five hundred plucky and patriotic citizens. Vick and his men 
then returned to town and informed the people that General Lyon had 
gone elsewhere and that all danger was past and the courthouse saved. 

One version of this incident ends by saying that when Bass Vick 
reentered Greenville with his men he was hailed as the hero who had saved 
the town, and that if he had killed every man in General Lyon's command 
he could not have had a more rousing reception. 

It is probable that on this raid General Lyon did not come within the 
bounds of Muhlenberg County. He and his squadron left Tennessee during 
the early part of December, 1864, and after going to Hopkinsville, Prince- 
ton, Eddyville, and IMadisonville they crossed Green River at Ashbyburg, 
in Hopkins County, and then continued to Hartford, Leitchfield, and 
various other places and arrived in Hopkinsville January 15, 1865. In 
Hartford and some of the other county seats they burned the courthouses. •- 

Possibly all the men who had joined either army were anxious to return 
home long before they were mustered out of service ; nevertheless they were 
willing to "stick to the end" in spite of the many hardships they had 
experienced. This feeling is shown in the following letter written near 
Atlanta '^ by James W. Wood, of the Mud River country, who enlisted in 
Company B, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, in September, 1861, and remained 
in that company until his regiment was mustered out in December, 1864. 
The letter is addressed to John H. Wood, Laurel Bluff, Muhlenberg County. 

3 In this connection Colonel James Q. Chenoweth, in his chapter in Adam R. 
Johnson's "The Partisan Rangers," says, on pages 190 and 191: 

"We entered the town of Hartford, garrisoned by a battalion of Federal troops 
who, on our approach, took shelter in the courthouse. They were speedily sur- 
rounded, captured and paroled and the courthouse burned. Just here I beg to 
remark that all the courthouses burned by General Lyon on this raid through 
Kentucky were in every case used as Federal garrisons or prison-houses for our 
Southern friends. ... It was considered by General Lyon 'a military neces- 
sity' to destroy these courthouses. These courthouses were no longer needed 
by the citizens of Kentucky as houses of law and temples of justice, but as military 
barracks and stockades for Federal soldiers and prison-houses for unoffending 
Kentuckians who dared to entertain any sympathy for the Southern cause." 

4 Mr. L. D. Griggs, who since 1885 has made Muhlenberg County his home, 
was a member of Company D, Twenty-fifth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, which 
saw hard service in front of Atlanta in July, 1864. During this siege he found 
time to compose a prayer that has been widely published and commented on: 
"Our Father Abraham, who art in Washington, honored be thy name. Thine 
administration come. Thy will be done in the South, as it is done by the Republi- 
cans in the North. Give us this day our daily ration of hard tack, beans and 
bacon. And forgive us our foraging, as we forgive those who forage upon us. 
And lead us not into the field of battle, but deliver us from the land of the 
enemy: for thine is the administration, and the power, so long as thou art in 
office. Eight men." 


Camp near Atlanta, Georgia. August 16th, 1864. 

Dear Brother John H. : — I received your kind and welcome letter the 
other day, dated July 22nd. I am always glad to hear from you, Mother 
and the children. I wrote Moth'er yesterday. . . . 

We have had a hard time during this campaign; but we have no right 
to grumble, for our regiment hasn't suffered hardly any compared to what 
some of the others have. Our regiment hasn't been in any general fight 
lately, though our company had several men wounded and two killed in 
a skirmish on the 6th of this month. 1 have written all about it to John. 
The wounded were sent back and the last we heard of them they were 
doing very well. 

I am sorry to hear that the boys have to work so hard on the farm. 
I hope I will be at home to help them next year. I know I could enjoy 
hard labor at home better than soldiering, for soldiering is hard on both 
mind and body. I do hope and trust that this wicked war will soon be 
over, but I fear it will be a long time before it is ended. I believe if the 
head leaders on each side had to come out and lay on the skirmish line and 
fight and undergo the hardships that we do there would be peace soon. 

I don't know what they will do here but there is one thing, we all hope 
this campaign will soon be over so that we can go home and live in peace 
with our friends as we have in bygone days. I think it has been on 
hand long enough, but no matter how much longer it lasts I'll stick to 
the end. 

It is now almost a year since I was at home and the time appears that 
long to me too. But there is one good consolation: if we live, it will not 
be long till we see each other again. If we are not permitted to see each 
other again in this world I feel that we will all meet beyond this vale of 
sorrow and tears where all our war troubles and earthly toils will 
be over. 

You said in your letter that you had been to the preaching. I am glad 
to know you all have the privilege of going to church. It is more than 
I have. I "was on picket last Sunday night. There was preaching in some 
regiment ; I could hear them singing but I could not leave my post to go. 
I always look forward to the day when I can go to church of a Sunday 
in place of going on picket. I have heard but two sermons preached since 
we left Kentucky. 

Harvey received a letter last night from cousin Allen, dated August 
the 5th. He said there were no guerillas in that neighborhood now. I 
was glad to hear it, for I expect the people back there will have a hard 
time anyhow, without having their property taken by the rogues. 

I would like very much to see you and the folks, but it is hard to tell 
just when that will be. We are getting along pretty well, considering the 
hardships we have to undergo. We have a pretty hard time, but the boys 
take it cheerfully. We are getting plenty to eat now and the boys are 
generally well and in fine spirits. 

H. Y. and J. L. Wood and C. W. McBride are well and send their 
respects to you all. Give my love and respects to all enquiring friends, 
the girls in particular, and keep a good portion for yourself. If our friends 
knew how highly we appreciate their letters down here they would write 

Write soon and give me all the news, let me know how you are getting 
along and how the crops look. Your affectionate brother until death 

James W, Wood. 


The following letter was written by the same writer about a month 
before his regiment was mustered out at Bowling Green, December 16, 1864: 

Louisville/ Kentucky, November 11, 1864 

Dear Mother: — We are in old Kentucky once more, and I'm glad of it. 
We will be mustered out before long. The prospects of peace and of us 
getting home again has put every single one of us in a very lively mood. 
We are seeing a fine time here. I am glad I'll be with you soon. . . . 

H. Y. Wood is not with us. lie was left at Chattanooga guarding some 
government beef cattle, but we are looking for him on every train. The 
balance of the boys are well and in fine spirits. John McBride is here with 
us and is well and hearty. 

We saw a hard time after we left Decatur, Georgia. We left there 
on the 4th day of October and had to march nearly every day for over 
a month. We took the cars at Dalton, Georgia, last Sunday and passed 
through Bowling Green Wednesday. They had our old battle flag on the 
depot and you ought to have heard the old Eleventh cheer when they saw it. 
We had a fine time. I was glad to be so near home. 

The cars were so crowded some of us had to ride on the roof. It rained 
every day and that made it bad for those who were on top. 

This is the first letter I have had a chance to write since we left Decatur, 
and it has also been some time since I heard from you or had a chance to. 

Give my love to grandfather and the children. . , . Your affec- 
tionate son 

James W. Wood. 

James R. Gross, of Bremen, carried a pocket memorandum book with 
him during the war and in it made brief entries of his movements. With 
the exception of a few memoranda relative to short visits home after his 
regiment left Kentucky, all his records pertaining to his career in or near 
Muhlenberg are Avritten on the first and last pages. These I quote: 

October 4th, 1861. Joined the Eleventh Regiment Kentucky Volunteers 
at Calhoun. P. B. Hawkins, Colonel; S. P. Love, Lieutenant-Colonel. 

24th, Thursday, marched to Sacramento, McLean County, and camped. 

2oth, Marched to South Carrollton and returned. 

26th, To Bethlehem, Muhlenberg County. 

27th, Went home. 

28th. Back to Camp Calhoun. 

December 28th. Went to Spottsville, Henderson County, on the L. W. 
Eaves, staid there two hours and returned to Camp Calhoun. 

January 16th, 1862. Struck tent, marched to South Carrollton, and 

February 1st. Left South Carrollton, returned to Camp ]Mottley on 
the L. W. Eaves. 

February 16th. Marched to Owensboro. 

17th, Monday. Got on board the N. W. Thomas and went down the 
Ohio River. 

18th. Landed at Smithland, mouth of Cumberland River. Distance 
170 miles. 

19th. Returned to the mouth of Green River. 

20th. Back to Smithland. 



21st. To Paducah. Staid there a while. 
• 22nd. Went up Cumberland River. 

February 24th. Landed at Fort Donelson. 

25th. P. M. Landed at Nashville. 

December 14th, 1864. Wednesday, at Bowling Green, Kentucky, turned 
over arms and accoutrements and was mustered out of service. 

Returned home in IMuhlenberg County, Kentucky, the 16th and 17th 
days of December, 1864. Distance 65 miles. 

Traveled from time of enlistment until mustered out of U. S. service 
and returned home, 6212 miles. 


These fifteen veterans attended the soldiers' reunion held on May 4, 1912, at the home 
of William H. Smith, near Paradise. All had fought in the Federal army except Lycurgus 
T. Reid, who was a Confederate soldier. 

Back row, left to right: W. H. Smith, Samuel Robertson, Ed Williams, G. W. Allen, 
R. J. Dobbs. Front Row: H. C. McCracken, W. M. Lewis, R. W. Casebier, John Coombs, 
J. N. Durall, Lycurgus T. Reid, Mitchell Mason, L. D. Griggs, E. E. C. ShuU, John L. G. 

Shortly after the close of the war the Grand Army of the Republic was 
organized. The first post in Muhlenberg was the Columbus H. Martin 
Post No. 7, Greenville, organized in October, 1883, with Doctor J. W. Church 
as commander. On March 25, 1908, this post was reorganized and its 
name was changed to the J. N. Paxton Post No. 17, Greenville. H. C. 
McCracken became commander of the new organization, and has held that 
office ever since. The post at Central City is the James N. Durall Post 
No. 64, organized July 4, 1889. 


Many reunions of Civil War soldiers have taken place in Muhlenberg 
County during the past forty years, and they are still taking place. As 
years roll by the veterans are rapidly decreasing in numbers; nevertheless 
it is more than likely that the holding of reunions will continue until the 
last of the comrades are laid in their graves. All those in this county 
have been held under the auspices of Federal soldiers. Confederate vet- 
erans were always and are still invited to these gatherings. The reunions 
that have taken place, under the auspices of organizations consisting of 
old Southern soldiers, to which the men of Muhlenberg have belonged, 
have been held in Logan, Christian, and Hopkins counties, where the 
fighters for the Lost Cause are more numerous than in Muhlenberg. 

Many of the soldiers' reunions in Muhlenberg have been conducted by 
the G. A. E. posts. In recent years most of these gatherings have taken 
place at the homes of old soldiers, where all veterans, neighbors, and others 
were the guests of the man who had invited the assemblage. Thus "on 
the first Saturday in May, 1912," William H. Smith, near Paradise, gave 
a semi-annual reunion at which there were present one Confederate and 
fourteen Federal soldiers, a brass band, and seventy other guests, all of 
whom ate dinner and supper at the Smith house and took part in an 
all-day picnic. Now, as in the past, the "boys who wore the gray" are 
as welcome at these gatherings as the "boys who wore the blue." 


NO CITIZEN in Muhlenberg is better versed in the traditions of the 
county than Richard Thompson Martin. His ancestors came 
to Muhlenberg more than a century ago. He has lived in the 
county all his life, and has from early youth been interested in 
local traditions and current events. During the past few years Mr. Martin 
has published a number of sketches of local history in the Greenville 
Record and in the Muhlenberg Sentinel. ]\Iucli that he has written of 
past men and events does not find a place in formal history. It has, how- 
ever, a value and interest all its own, being in the nature of personal 
recollections that vividly recall and repeople old times in an atmosphere 
of singular charm, of appreciative sentiment and personal interest. Mr. 
Martin will always deserve a high place in the estimation of those who 
love native reminiscence. His published recollections will increase in value 
with the years, and should be preserved in some permanent form for the 
benefit of later generations. 

Mr. Martin is the third son of Thomas L. and Mahala (Bell) Martin. 
He was born on a farm near Old Liberty on February 27, 1841, and went 
to the county schools in that vicinity. He later attended the school taught 
in Greenville by Professor E. W. Hall, and completed his English educa- 
tion during the ('ivil War. For several years he taught school in Ohio, 
Muhlenberg, and Christian counties, and then engaged in farming. In 
1879 he married Viva Atherton, of McLean County, a daughter of A. J. 
and Susan C. Ranney Atherton. In 1882 he left the farm and took up 
his residence in Greenville, where he engaged in manufacturing tobacco 
until 1902, when he retired, leaving the business to his only son, Buren 
Martin, who is one of the influential young men of the county. 

Richard T. Martin is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. 
He has always been a Republican in politics. No man in Muhlenberg is 
better known. He was about twenty years of age w^hen the Civil War 
broke out. His sketch, "Recollections of the Civil War," was originally 
written in January, 1911, and published in the Muhlenberg Sentinel. It 
was later rewritten for this history. 

286 HISTORY OP muhijENberg county 


The statements that I here make concerning some of the incidents 
that took place in Muhlenberg County during the Civil War may not 
be correct in every detail, for nearly a half+ century has passed since 
they occurred. We have no written record of these local happenings, 
so what I say is according to my recollections, some of which have been 
verified by the recollections of a few other men who lived in ]\Iuhlenberg 
during war times. I find that a number of these events have been almost 
forgotten, and that a few are recalled somewhat differently by different 
people. However, most of these incidents, as recalled by those who are 
still living, are about the same as I here give them. 

Before the war, citizens of Muhlenberg County occupied a different 
status from what they do now. The people were then under the persuasion 
of the old-time religion and the regulations of the old Constitution ; their 
manner of procedure and their customs of living were different from what 
they are to-day. 

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the 
United States, greatly to the surprise of all the Southern States and to 
Kentucky and jMulilenberg County. Nevertheless, the election of Lincoln 
occurred in the course of human events and undoubtedly proved a blessing 
to the entire country, althougli it drenched the nation with the blood and 
tears of the sons of liberty. 

The people of Muhlenberg, in the election of 1860, were divided on 
John Bell, Stephen A. Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge. I have always 
understood that Abraham Lincoln received only two votes in the county: 
that of Leonard Lewis and Andrew McClelland. In the spring of 1861, 
after Lincoln had taken his seat, agitation became alarming; secession 
commenced in the South; war-clouds began to gather on the horizon, and 
a revolution seemed inevitable. 

Before entering into general details, I shall tell of an occurrence that 
took place the latter part of August, 1861, which will show the feeling then 
existing among some of the IMiihlenberg people at the beginning of the war. 

A protracted meeting was in progress at Pisgah Church, about six 
miles west of Greenville. One William Harrison, who was born and reared 
in Cliristian County, a son of Harvey Harrison, came over to attend the 
meeting, and during his stay put up with a cousin. Harrison wore, all 
buttoned up, a full suit of Southern soldier's uniform, of which he seemed 
very proud. He attracted a good deal of attention in his war apparel. 
The people were considerably worked up about the rebellion of the South. 
Harrison was an incessant talker and braggart. He claimed to have been 
at the battle of Bull Run, which was fought on July 21, 1861. He did 
much bragging and boasting about this, telling the people how the Southern 
soldiers made the Yankees run and how they mowed the Federals down 
and cut them to pieces with corn-knives and scattered the retreaters like 

R. T. martin's ''recollections of the civil war" 287 

sheep. He also asserted that the Yankees were all cowards, and that the 
South would whip them before long. Harrison was not advised of the 
sentiment of the people in the Pisgah neighborhood, who were then largely 
in favor of the Union. Although they had remained neutral up to that 
time in regard to the war, they had no inclination to worship a rebel 
hero, especially during a protracted meeting. Harrison attended the meet- 
ing only at night. His continued abuse of the Yankees and the Federal 
government began to create considerable excitement, and the Union boys 
discussed the question of whipping Harrison and making him leave. 
Although he seemed to have found out something of the intended whipping, 


he nevertheless hung around. He would go to Greenville during the day, 
where he was associated with some young men who expected to join the 
Southern army. Harrison brought them out to the church with him the 
next night after the whipping was first talked about, to serve as a kind of 
bodyguard. They all wore caps and improvised Southern uniforms. There 
was no whipping done that night, for it was then believed, and afterward 
found out, that Harrison and his company were all armed. The next 
night all of them came riding up again while the church people were 
assembling. But no fighting or whipping took place. 



That night an old gentleman informed the elders of the church that 
he had discovered some guns behind a log in the edge of the woods not 
far away. So the elders thought best, under the exciting conditions, to 
adjourn the meeting. When the people had about all assembled, and while 
most of the men were still standing around outside, one of the leading 
elders went to the front door and announced that the meeting had closed 

and that the people could all 
go home. He did not give a 
reason, but simply said that 
it was thought best to close 
the meeting. The young men 
around Pisgah were greatly 
incensed because the services 
had to be closed on account of 
Harrison's capers. That same 
night three young men rode 
over the neighborhood and 
notified a number of persons 
in whom they had confidence 
to meet at Old Liberty Church 
MOUNT PISGAH CHURCH, NEAR BANCROFT ^^^ ^^^^ moming at suurise. 

At the appointed time about twenty met, among Avhom were five old men 
who had also heard of the arranged meeting. The object of coming together 
was to consider the propriety of hanging Harrison. Most of the young 
men favored the hanging. The old men dissented; they reasoned with the 
young men. One old man got up on a log and made a little talk to them, 
saying : ' ' Boys, we seem to have a fearful future before us. Our county 
and State are apparently in great danger of being made a bloody field 
of battle. Armies are being raised in bordering States, north and south. 
A big war, I believe, is inevitable, and we do not know into whose hands 
we shall fall. Our homes may be in the midst of battle, and we should 
be very careful how we act and what we say and do. To hang Harrison 
would not profit any one, but such an act might be the means of great 
harm to ourselves." The old man, in closing his argument, said: ''Boys, 
take an old man's advice for once. While you are doing well, let well 
alone." After the old men had talked with the young men, they proposed 
that one of the crowd go and notify Harrison to leave the county at once. 
This was done, and Harrison's cousin immediately conveyed him back to 
Christian County. That was the last seen of Harrison around Pisgah. 
He died afterward, in Hopkinsville. 

Most of the citizens of Kentucky sought neutrality, and wished to take 
no part in the disturbance. The majority of the people of oNIuhlenberg 
County were opposed to war, but were for a peaceable settlement of the 
difficulty if possible. While some few were for secession, a large majority 
were for the protection and perpetuation of the Union on peaceable terms. 
The step taken by Kentucky and her counties was armed neutrality; the 
State Guard was organized and went into camp service at once, and in the 
various counties the Home Guards were formed and held in reserve. Three 


Home Guard companies were made up in Muhlenberg — one commanded 
by Edward R. Weir, sr., of Greenville, one by Doctor Shelby A. Jackson, 
of Paradise, and a third was formed in the southern part of the county. 
The company of Edward R. Weir, sr., was the largest in the county and 
was drilled regularly at Greenville. These companies were organized in 
the spring of 1861, and were at that time composed entirely of Union men, 
who were opposed to the dissolution of the Union. All of the Secession 
element looked upon the Home Guard procedure with suspicion. 

In the spring of 1861 the veterans of 1812 and of the Mexican War 
held a reunion the day the Home Guards gathered to drill. Many of the 
old soldiers were present, some of whom took part in the exercises. But 
the maneuvers were according to a later manual, and the old men appeared 
a little awkward in the new commands. Of the War of 1812 soldiers I saw 
that day I now recall Joseph C. Reynolds, John Shelton, M. Collins Drake, 
Joseph McCown, Ephraim M. Brank, George Penrod, Charles Fox Wing, 
Larkin N. Akers, and Thomas Terry. 

Thomas Terry, the fatlier of Azel jM. Terry, took the new company 
through some of the evolutions used during the War of 1812, and gave the 
crowd a good idea of the old-time drill. Thomas Terry was a soldier in 
the second war wdth England, and his son, Azel ISI. Terry, was a Federal 
soldier in the Civil War. 

At this gathering Edward Rumsey addressed the old soldiers, com- 
plimenting them on their great service in the defense of their country. 
Rumsey seemed a little trammeled on this occasion. In his early life he 
was an advocate of the principle of the abolition of slavery, but now liis 
sympathies had turned. A short time afterward he issued a printed circular 
stating that his sentiments were with the Sovith. He was the owner of 
some negroes, and it was said by some of the abolitionists that he feared 
that they would be freed, and that he did not want to give them up in his 
old age. 

Edward R. Weir, sr., was a nephew of and a law student under Rumsey, 
who taught and impressed Weir so favorably with the principles of aboli- 
tion that Weir still adhered to them even after Rumsey changed. Hence 
Weir and Rumsey stood on opposite sides in politics after the war broke 
out. After Rumsey had made known how his sympathies were lie took 
no very active part in politics, but lived retired and devoted most of his 
time to his personal affairs. 

Edward R. Weir, sr., became tlie leader and adviser of the Union 
element of the county, and Robert S. Russell headed the Secession element. 
Russell was selected by the Secession advocates to represent them in a 
Confederate legislature which met at Russellville, Kentucky, November 18 
to 20, 1861. Russell, together with some two hundred others, adopted an 
ordinance of secession and declared Kentucky out of the Union. Three 
weeks later the Confederate Congress at Richmond, Virginia, went through 
the form of admitting the State into the Southern Confederacy. But the 
Russellville legislature was short-lived. It was routed by the Union army. 
Russell went south, and did not return until after the close of the war, 
when he came back and moved his effects to Clarksville, Tennessee, where 
he died in 1873. 


The legislative race in 1861 took place between Judge eToseph Ricketts, 
representing the Union sentiment of the county, and R. D. Reynolds, 
representing the Secession element. Ricketts was elected by a very large 

The Home Guards met regularly. About the middle of September, 
while they were drilling in the western part of Greenville, a small company 
of young men who had been recruited for the Southern army in Daviess, 
INIcLean. and Ohio counties came through Greenville on their way south, 
and stopped in town for a few hours. Some of the Home Guards wanted 
to drive them out, but were told by Weir to let them alone unless they 
acted imprudently, in which event they could attack them. The south- 
bound boys soon left without causing any trouble or raising any dis- 

General Simon Bolivar Buckner, who was at the head of the State 
Guard, joined the Southern army in September, and took with him much 
of the State Guard equipment and nearly all of the men under him. He 
afterward had his headquarters at Bowling Green. In the meantime a 
number of the Home Guards began to disband, for many of them were 
divided in their sympathy. War was threatening on the southern border 
of the State; the guns of Weir's company of Home Guards were ordered 
in at Bethel Church, and were hauled from there in a two-horse wagon to 
Christian County, but they were soon returned to ^Muhlenberg. Some of 
these firearms were left in the Pisgah neighborhood, with the request that 
they be hidden away for safe-keeping. We boys, together with Uncle 
Richmond Pace (R. 0. Pace's grandfather), hid a1>out three dozen of the 
guns under the floor of Old Liberty Church, which had been a])andoned 
as a place of worship before the war. The guns remained there for several 
months, when they were called for by the Federal authorities. 

Excitement began to run high; the social relations of those who favored 
the Union were somewhat estranged from those who favored the South. 
They became like the Jews and the Samaritans, and had but little dealings 
with one another outside of business matters. "Birds of a feather flock 
together. ' ' 

Some families and many old friends were divided upon the Union and 
Secession question, and consequently hard feelings and high words would 
often occur between the Secession and Union people of ^Muhlenberg. At 
that period a large majority of the citizens of ^Muhlenberg favored the 
Union. William G. Jones, who was reelected county judge in 1858, was 
in sympathy with the South ; so was ]Moses Wickliffe, who was elected 
sheriff in 1860 and who shortly after resigned and joined the Southern 
army. The remainder of the county officials were for the Union. 

By the first of Septeml)er, 1861, tlie war talk and feeling became gen- 
eral in ^Muhlenberg and throughout Kentucky, and preparations were made 
for recruiting the increasing number of volunteers. 

Toward the last of Septeml)er, 1861, General Buckner, with about 
fifteen hundred men, moved from Bowling Green to Hopkinsville. He 
marched by way of Rochester, where on Septe]nl)er 26th he attempted to 
destroy the lock and dam on Green River. His soldiers created considerable 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war' 


excitement along the line of march. The rear guard of his army was very 
reckless, and treated the people along his route somewhat roughly. 

On his way to Hopkinsville General Buckiier passed through Greenville, 
where he viewed the remains of Charles Fox Wing, who had died the day 
before. He camped that same night at the Reuben Ellison spring, south- 
west of town. I well remember when, on the next morning a little after 
sun-up, he resumed his march. The day was clear and calm. We could 
distinctly hear the rattle of the war-drum as it sounded out on the morning 


It stood near the site of the Old Reno Mill and was built in 1881 on piers that supported 

a former bridge, over which General Buckner and his men marched, September 

27, 1861. This wooden bridge was replaced in September, 1911, by 

an iron bridge, a few days after this picture was taken 

air, although we were five miles from the camp. This war tocsin sounded 
the alarm to the people of .Muhlenberg that danger was ahead. Its music 
touched and fired the patriotism and nerve of the Union element in the 
county. This was the first army that had ever passed through Muhlenberg, 
and considerable excitement prevailed, especially along Buckner 's line of 
march. A good mam^ of the natives left their homes and took to the woods. 
I had never seen a marching army, so I rode over to the upper Hopkins 
ville Road, believing that I could there see Buckner 's entire command. 
But when I arrived there I found that part of the army had taken the 
lower Hopkinsville Road, which ran past our home, that I had left only 
an hour Ijefore. General Buckner was with that part of his army, and 
the General himself stopped at our liouse and talked with my father, who 
knew him when he w^as a' boy at the old Buckner Furnace on Pond Creek. 


I was informed that the divisions would be reunited at the Prowse Bridge, 
on the lower Hopkinsville Road. So I followed on to the bridge, where 
I saw General Buekner and his men, including the ]Muhlenberg boys with 
whom 1 was acquainted, who had joined the Southern army. They were 
all in good spirits, although marching to become targets for the missiles 
of death. Some of them never came back. Buekner 's army continued its 
march and reached ilopkinsville on the 29th, after having had a little 
skirmish with some of the Home Guards in Christian County, 

I do not think there were more than twenty-five or thirty men from 
Muhlenberg who joined the Southern army during 1861. Doctor John E. 
Pendleton, of Hartford, organized a company in Ohio County for tlie 
Southern army, and most of the IMuhlenberg boys enlisted under him. 

Buekner 's passing through Butler, jMuhlenberg, and Christian counties 
aroused the Union element, and gave impetus and acceleration to the 
organization of Colonel P. B. Hawkins' regiment of General Thomas L. 
Crittenden's division, which had commenced to form at Calhoun. I am 
under the impression that William James, jr., was the first man in the 
county to enlist in the Federal army. Five companies were recruited in 
]\Iuhlenberg and became parts of the Eleventh Kentucky Infantry and 
Third Kentucky Cavalry. Company B of the Eleventh Infantry was the 
first formed, and was organized by Edward R. Weir, jr., and W. F. Ward; 
Company K by M. J. Roark and C. H. Martin; Company H by Isaac R. 
Sketo and J, K. Freeman. Company D, of the Third Kentucky Cavalry, 
commanded by Colonel J. S. Jackson, was organized by A. X. Davis. 
Captain Davis was taken prisoner at the battle of Sacramento, and was 
succeeded by T. J. Lovelace. Company F, of the same cavalry, was organized 
by Isaac ]\Iiller and Elisha Baker; Baker soon succeeded Captain ]^Iiller. 
These five companies were made up principally of Muhlenberg men. 

General Buekner, during October, 1861, left a garrison at H-opkinsville 
under the command of Colonel James L. Alcorn, of Mississippi, who was 
later succeeded by Colonel Lloyd Tilghman. Colonel N. B. Forrest was 
also stationed at Hopkinsville until the first of February, 1862. During 
the stay of Forrest at Hopkinsville his men did a good deal of scouting, 
and often came into :Mulilenl)erg. Their raids kept the people terrified, 
and were the means of driving some into the Federal army at Calhoun 
who might not otherwise have joined. A number were so frightened that 
they rushed to Calhoun for safety. Some of the strong Union people of 
Greenville also went to Calhoun for protection, and remained there until 
about the middle of February, 1862, when the. Federal army left for the 

To show that young people will have their fun and will play their 
pranks even during the terrors of war and in the face of battles, I will 
relate an occurrence that took place about three miles from Pisgah Church 
in November, 1861, shortly after one of Colonel Forrest's first raids into 
the county. There were some families living in that neighborhood at that 
time who were very easily scared, and who were good hands to frighten 
others with false reports. 



House in which the "Bogus Cavalry" was 
organized, as it appears to-day 

For the sake of having a little fun, a dozen or fifteen l)oys, just grown 
up, led b.y some older ones, concluded that they would play "Forrest" 
and make a raid among the natives. So they met at a designated house 
on the upper Hopkinsville Road and in the vicinity of the place they had 
decided to "raid." The crowd met just about dark, and rigged themselves 
up in true cavalry style. They carried a number of pistols, which they 
loaded, but without balls ; some of them fastened chains on their persons 
or horses, to rattle like sabers; many had sticks to represent guns. A little 
after the stars appeared this bogus cavalry started on its raid. 

A few" minutes before re- 
mounting their horses they 
sent a man ahead, named 
"Wells, to call out at the fence 
of their first victim, to tell the 
family that there was a com- 
pany of Southern cavalry at 
the house he had just passed 
who were tearing things up 
generally, and that he had 
come to warn them to be on 
the lookout. Wells was in- 
structed to pretend to be in 
a great hurry and to change 
his voice as much as possible, so that no one would recognize him. He had 
the family pretty well aroused when the "cavalry" was heard approaching. 
"Here they come!" he said, and then started off on a gallop. There was 
a lane about two hundred yards long leading from the main road down to the 
house, and as Wells rushed up the lane the company dashed in and took after 
him, shooting rapidly and yelling "Halt! Halt!" As arranged in advance, 
they captured Wells within hearing distance of the house. Some of the 
boys called out, "Have you killed him!" and the answer came back, "No, 
but he is fearfully wounded." One man then asked in a very loud voice, 
"Captain, what must we do with him?" The captain, wanting every word 
to be heard, cried out, "Don't kill him — we want to find out what he was 
up to at this house. Surround the house and field at once!" Some were 
ordered to go around the field, but they did not go. In the meantime the 
frightened family threw chunks of fire out the front door, and made their 
escape. A few of the "raiders" then went down to the house, and found 
that everybody had fied. The family consisted of a father, three grown 
sons, two grown daughtere, and a daughter-in-law\ The crowd had reason 
to believe that the ])oys had run to the woods and that the old man and 
the women had hidden in the barn or stables. For the benefit of those 
who might be in these buildings some of the boys shouted, "Burn the 
stables!" Then the captain, in a voice that could be heard all over the 
place, said, "No! let the stables alone! I am confident that these people 
have all gone to the woods. Come, let's take our prisoner and move up 
the road to the next farm." The family little realized that this "cavalry" 
was composed of the same persons who, some two months before, had 


cliarivaried the married son at his father-in-law's home, located about three 
miles up the road. The noise on that occasion was kept up for many hours, 
and was discontinued only after the old lady had repeatedly requested the 
boys to "stop that there shiver-de-freezing." 

Just before the "raiders" reached the next house they saw the family 
there run across the road and down to the woods. These people had heard 
the racket at their neighbors' and were doing the best they could to make 
their escape. When the crowd came up to the gate everything was still , 
no light was to be seen. The captain's loud voice now rang out "Nobody 
at home here!" The "cavalry" then turned and left the public highway 
and took a country road leading to a nearby neighbor's house. 

When they entered the lane running by the house of their third victim 
they started one of their men in a fast run ahead of the crowd, and the 
others, shooting in every direction, charged after him, and as they passed 
the house shouted, "Halt! Halt!" They captured the man so noisily 
pursued, and then brought him back near to the farmer's front door. One 
of the leaders hallooed several times, and finally the old lady stuck her 
head out of the door. The captain asked her who lived there, and she told 
him. He then requested her to tell her husband to come out. She said 
that he was in bed sick, and not al)le to be up. As a matter of fact the 
crowd knew he had gone to Greenville that day. The captain then asked 
her whether he was a Lincolnite or a Southerner. She answered that he had 
never taken sides, but had always been neutral and stayed at home and 
attended to his own business. The captain then told her that he and his 
soldiers would camp up on the road and wanted her husband to come up 
early the next morning, and concluded by saying that if he did not come 
they would return and make liim take the oath to support the South. Then 
the crowd rode off, feeling a little ashamed of themselves for having scared 
the old lady so badly. After a little talk on the subject they decided to 
disband. They agreed, however, that every one would deny any knowledge 
of the affair, and that all would meet at Pisgah Church the next day, 
Sunday, to hear the report of the raid. 

All the parties were on hand before the church services began. The 
young men who were routed from their homes told a wonderful tale of 
how a company of Southern cavalry had raided the whole' neighborhood, 
"torn up jack generally," and had wounded or killed a man near their 
house, and how all night long they had heard the raiders shooting. They said 
they believed that the man who was captured and perhaps killed was Wells. 
But while they were talking about the affair Wells came riding to the 
church, and after he had hitched and come up he was asked what he knew 
al)out the case. Wells said he had not noticed any signs of a disturl)ance 
and had not heard the shooting, and declared that this was the first he had 
heard about the excitement. He made many inquiries, and they told him 
that they took him to be the man who had notified them that the raiders 
were coming. He convinced them that they were mistaken in the man. The 
people were greatly puzzled for awhile, but it finally leaked out that this 
was a bogus raid. 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war" 295 

It was learned that the three boys living in the first house "raided" 
ran about a mile to the home of some friends, and the whole family, with 
the refugees, slept in a straw-stack all night. It was a cold, frosty night. 
The people living in the second house stayed in the woods until just before 
sun-up, when they crept cautiously back home. The man who, the night 
before, was reported sick and not able to stir, got considerably better the 
next day ; but he did not go to the camp to see about taking the oath. 

This kind of procedure was, of course, a very dangerous one, and had it 
been carried on in some other neighborhood it probably would have 
terminated very seriously. In fact, after it w'as all over every one of the 
boys in this Saturday night "raid" began to realize what might have been 
the result of their wild frolic. As far as I know, there are but three now 
living who belonged to this "bogus cavalry" of 1861. 

There were some youngsters who thought if the bogus cavalry could play 
"Forrest," they could play "Buckner. " When General Buckner passed 
through the county he had several little brass cannons with him, that were 
greatly admired by all the young fellows who saw them. These boys con- 
cluded that they wanted a cannon to shoot and to scare the timid natives. 
Three or four of the youngsters got together and called on Edward 0. Pace, 
then a blacksmith near the Pisgah neighborhood, and asked him if he could 
help get up a cannon. He said that he could. Pace was then a young man, 
and although he had been married a few years he nevertheless enjoyed the 
fun and pranks of boys. So he told the youngsters to go to the woods and 
cut out a black gum log eight or ten inches in diameter and about three feet 
long and bring it to his shop, and he would manufacture a cannon for them. 

A log was procured, taken to Pace's shop at night, and the work on the 
cannon was commenced at once. The bark w^as shaved off nicely. Pace 
had a two-inch auger with a long shank, and with this he bored a hole in 
the end of the log down to a depth of fifteen or sixteen inches; he then 
bored a half-inch auger hole through the log to the bottom end of the 
two-inch auger hole. This smaller opening was for the fuse and served as 
a touch-hole. He had a lot of old wagon-tires in his shop, and out of these 
he made a number of bands and drove them on the wooden cannon as 
close as he could conveniently get them. He then loaded the big gun with 
some powder and made a trial shot to test its strength. It stood the test 
and was pronounced ready for "warfare." 

The youngsters carried the cannon to a field near Pisgah Church. They 
procured all the powder they could get, and one night commenced a regular 
cannonading. They put in heavy charges of powder and the report fairly 
shook the earth ; the noise rolled and reverberated in the distance like 
thunder. The whole neighborhood became alarmed. Some of the people 
were badly scared, for they thought Buckner or some other army was right 
in their midst. James Jones, of Long Creek, who happened to be visiting 
the nearby house of W. C. ^Martin, became so frightened at the first shot 
that he crawled under the bed and remained there for some time. The 
whole neighborhood was dumfounded at the loud shooting. The roaring 
of this cannon was heard in Greenville, over on Pond River, and near the 
Christian County line. The next day there was a considerable stir among 


the natives, for most of them inquired about the shooting. No one seemed 
to know who had kept up such a cannonading. In the meantime the boys 
were reaping the pleasure of having played "Buckner" so well. 

After the cannon had rested a while it was taken over on the upper 
Hopkinsville Road, where some repairs were made on it at the James Rice 
blacksmith shop, then run by W. H. and E. Rice. E. Rice did the work 
for the l)oys, and a few nights later the cannonading was carried on in 
that neighl)orliood, where it caused considerable alarm. 

The cannon was next carried near to a house in which Billy D. Rice 
then lived. There it was again put into service, but before discharg- 
ing it E. Rice loaded it with a shop-hammer for a ball and aimed the 
barrel at a nearby tree. The cannon went off with a tremendous roar 
and sent the shop-hammer deep into the trunk of the tree, where I presume 
it has remained buried ever since. 

During the last days of December, 1861, Colonel Forrest, with some 
three hundred men, made a raid down through Christian and Muhlenberg 
counties to near Sacramento in McLean County, where he came in contact 
with Major Eli PT. Murray and about one hundred and eighty men of the 
Third Kentucky Cavalry. Colonel Forrest brought on the attack with part 
of his men, and Major ^lurray foruied a line and repulsed the first charge. 
It is said that ^Murray might have stood his ground against Forrest's entire 
force had not some of Murray's recruits commenced a retreat to Sacra- 
mento, in consequence of which he was unable to check or rally his men. 
Colonel Forrest, seeing the disorder, charged them, and a running tight 
ensued which continued for a few miles, after which Forrest's cavalry re- 
turned. Murray's men never stopped on the road until they reached 
Calhoun, badly scattered and generally excited. Six of ^Murray's command 
were killed, including Captain A. G. Bacon, of Frankfort, and Isaac 
JMitchell, who lived near the old Buckner P^'urnace, and seven were wounded 
and captured, among vdiom was Captain A. N. Davis, then living near 
Friendshi]) Church. Forrest's loss was two killed, one of whom was 
Captain Ned ^Merri wether, and three wounded. It was claimed that some 
of the citizens of Sacramento did damage by shooting at the Federals as 
they passed through the town. Some arrests were afterward made and 
the parties dealt with. 

Colonel Forrest came back through Greenville, left some prisoners in 
town, and continued liis march until he reached Pisgah Church, on the 
lower Hopkinsville Road, where he went into camp. Colonel Forrest and 
Major D. C. Kelly occupied a room in a residence near the church, where 
they ate supper and breakfast. In the meantime their men helped them- 
selves to the corn and hay, and left a perfect wreck of feed from the crib 
and barn all the way to the church house. These things, however, were 
paid for in Confederate money. 

While in this house Colonel Forrest related a good deal concerning the 
battle he had had with ^Nlajor Murray. He told about the capture of Captain 
A. N. Davis and John L. Williams. He stated that in the running tight 
Davis rushed up behind him, and that he would have received a fatal 
thrust had not Davis' horse fallen, for in the fall of the animal Davis' arm 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war" 297 

was dislocated and he rose and surrendered. He also said that he saw 
John L. AVilliams, the Greenville carpenter, on the ground, rode up to him, 
and demanded that he surrender; but Williams looked him straight in the 
eye, and drew back his pistol and threw it with great force, striking him 
on the breast, and would have knocked him oflf his horse had he not been 
a large man; that immediately some of his (Forrest's) men rushed up and 
began using their sabers on Williams, but he (Forrest) stopped them at 
once. He remarked that Williams was too brave a man to be butchered 
when overpowered. 

Williams was a ^Mason and so was Colonel Forrest. Forrest brought 
Williams to Greenville, the home of Williams, and left him with his family. 
He also brought a prisoner to Greenville Avhose name was, I think, Ed 
Baker, a lieutenant from Princeton, Kentucky. I saw this prisoner the 
next day at Reno's Hotel. He was badly wounded; shot in the legs, arms, 
and body, and was absolutely helpless. He remained in the hotel for two 
months, and then went home. This was the last raid made in IMuhlenberg 
County by Colonel Forrest or his men. 

I remember that when the battle of Fort Donelson was being fought on 
February 14 and 15, 1862, we could distinctly hear the cannon roar, 
although about fifty miles away. I also remember that on Wednesday, the 
14th, it was cloudy in the forenoon and that in the afternoon it commenced 
to rain a little. The breeze was from the west, and about half-past two 
o'clock we heard some rumbling noise which we at first took to be thunder, 
but about three o'clock we were convinced that it was the roar of cannon, 
and that a battle was going on somewhere. A continuous rumble was 
heard until night. Snow commenced falling about sundown, and the next 
morning it was thi-ee or four inches deep. On the 15th the noise was more 
distinct, and from the information we could get we judged that the roaring 
came from Fort Donelson. Some Muhlenberg boys immediately started to 
Hopkinsville to learn what they could about the battle. Upon their return 
they told us how, after a two-days' battle, General Buckner had surrendered 
to General Grant. 

After the Southern army left Hopkinsville, about the first of February, 
1862, the people of the county felt some relief. They believed that the 
war was going from them; but the political sentiment of "Unionism" and 
what was called "Rebelism" was still being agitated. During the first 
part of 1862 "war talk" was the principal entertainment. During the 
first two years of the Civil War there were more lies told and more state- 
ments exaggerated about things connected with the war than during any 
other period of the country's history. One old gentleman, who made a 
trip to Greenville once or twice a week to get news about great battles, 
defeats, and surrenders, told me that when he went to Greenville and 
procured the truth, wrapped it up in a silk handkerchief, took it home and 
opened it, that it would then be a "durn lie." 

Lying was a great feast for the people during the war, and did much 
good for a time. All preachers claim that lying is bad medicine and should 
be avoided, but I noticed that during the war it did many people good. I 
have seen whole crowds shake themselves, shout and halloo, on the presenta- 


tion and reception of a lie, as if they had gotten religion. A well-woven 
and well-founded lie would last some time, and would be boosting and 
bracing to either the Union or Secession elements in the county. When 
the Union people received a favorable report, although unverified, they 
would get together, rejoice, and feel good. The Southern element some- 
times got a favorable but unconfirmed report, and they too would have a 
rejoicing. Hence all the people were cheered and strengthened, at times, 
during their troubles. On the other hand, there was no time, from thi^ 
commencement of the war until peace was declared, during which there 
was not a good deal of uneasiness and anxiety manifested by the people of 
the county. 

Among the great events of the year 1862 was Morgan's march through 
^Muhlenberg. His coming was a surprise to everybody. General John 
H. ^Morgan entered Greenville on Saturday, the 25tli of October. 1862. 
Snow fell four inches deep that night and it was cold and chilly, although 
the trees were still green. It was an unfavorable day, nevertheless there 
was a large crowd in town, and ]\Iorgan's men did a good deal of trading 
and swapping of horses and saddles with the people who had come in from 
the country. They also contracted a large bill at Hancock & Reno's store 
for such things as they needed in military life. In making these trades 
and swaps ^Morgan's men always got the best of it. After they had 
finished trading with the natives they marched out the upper Ilopkinsville 
Road about three miles from Greenville and camped near the residence of a 
Southern sympathizer, who was a large slave-owner and who had been a 
soldier in the War of 1812. He was as clever a man as ever lived in the 
county, always generous, kind, and accommodating. His home was open at 
all times to respectable people, rich or poor. No doubt he was glad to have 
an opportunity to extend his unreserved hospitality by entertaining so noted 
and distinguished a general and patriot of the South as General ^Morgan. 

While General ^Morgan and the landlord were enjoying a nice repast, 
prepared especially for the occasion, and while being comfortably enter- 
tained before a nice wood fire, talking about the possibilities and probabil- 
ities of the Southern Confederacy, Morgan's men, who were left outside 
to brave the falling snow and bleak winds of the night, were helping them- 
selves to the landlord's beehives. The next morning (Sunday) after break- 
fast, and after bidding General Morgan good-by and wishing him success, 
the old gentleman thought that he would look around and see if things 
were all in place. He soon discovered that his beehives were gone. 

"Well, well, sirs!" he murmured. Then, returning to the house, he 
called his wife and said, "Well, well, sirs, Polly, those dirty rascals oti' 
Morgan's have actually taken our beehives!" 

"You don't say so!" exclaimed his wife. "If I had known that. 
General INIorgan would not have slept in our l)est bed or gotten anything 
to eat here ! " 

"Well, well, sirs," replied the old man, "they were hungry and cold, 
and we will just let it go at that, Polly." 

The old man followed their tracks in the snow, found his empty bee- 
hives, a lot of frozen l)ees, and a little honey scattered over the abandoned 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war" 299 

camp. When he returned to the house he remarked to his wife, "That sure 
was a dirty act, Polly, but I was a soldier once myself and know something 
about such capers and shall not raise a fuss." 

Some of Morgan's men, being of a religious turn of mind, went to 
church that same Sunday morning. General Morgan gave them leave to 
attend meeting at Friendship. Not many of the people were aware of 
Morgan's presence in the neighborhood. There was a large crowd present, 
including the religious part of Morgan's men. The sermon was a little 
too lengthy for ^lorgan's men, so they had to leave before services were 
over, for fear of getting too far behind their commander. But in their 
haste nearly all of them mistook somebody else's horse for their own, and 
rode off in such a hurry that they apparently never discovered their mis- 
take. But when meeting broke, the people who owned the horses that were 
taken saw what had been done. 

There was at least one horse-trade made that day in which the owners 
of the horses gave their consent to the exchange. I remember that H. N. 
]\Iartin, then a young man living with his parents near Pisgah Church, 
owned a large, fine-looking black horse called "Rector," of which young 
^Martin was very proud. Riding the horse out to Friendship Church on 
Sunday, he met up with ]\Iorgan's men and was induced to make an even 
swap with one of them. He exchanged "Rector" for an old broken-down 
stove-up, twist-tailed horse, which he rode home expecting to surprise his 
parents. Swapping horses on the Sabbath they thought was bad enough, 
but the trade made was even worse. 

Morgan's march through Muhlenberg and Christian counties, as stated 
before, was unexpected. No one knew, at the time, for what purpose it was 
made. It was believed by some that General ^Morgan was induced to come 
into ]\Iuhlenberg and Christian counties to defeat Edward R. Weir, sr., for 
Congress. An election came off on the following IMonday between Weir 
and George II. Yeaman. The presence of IMorgan so terrified the people 
that not many went out to vote in Muhlenberg and Christian counties, 
Weir's stronghold, and conseciuently Weir was defeated. The Secessionists 
did not like Weir ; he took an active part against them. For a long time 
Weir himself thought that some of the leading Secessionists had planned 
to have IMorgan 's raid in IMuhlenberg and Christian counties take place 
at the time of the election. 

During 1862 there was considerable excitement in Western Kentucky, 
caused by guerrilla warfare, recruiting, and bushwhacking. Companies 
of both Federal and Confederate armies were moving over different coun- 
ties. Colonel Adam R. Johnson, of the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, did some 
guerrilla work in various parts of the State. He lost his eyesight while 
fighting for the South. Detached companies from Johnson's command 
made raids, and plundered many of the towns and villages along their 
course. Al Fowler, Jack Porter, Jake Bennett, Ray, Sypert, and others 
belonging to some of his companies were troublesome and caused consider- 
able uneasiness for a long time. These guerrillas were often chased, scat- 
tered, and driven out of the State by Federal troops, but most of them 
would slip back in again. As a general thing they were in scpiads of from 
twenty to fifty men. 



Al Fowler and Jack Porter, both residents of Hopkins County, living 
between Pond River and ]\Iadisonville, did a good deal of scouting among 
the natives while recruiting men for the Southern army. Some of the 
Muhlenberg boys joined them. Fowler was active in the guerrilla service. 
During the latter part of 1862 Fowler made a raid into INIuhlenberg 
County, and was followed by a company of Federals commanded by Colonel 
James H. Holloway, of the Eighth Kentucky Cavalrj^ Colonel Holloway 
and some of his soldiers crossed Pond River near Hugh W. ]\IcNary 's, and on 
reaching the.McNary farm wanted to go into camp for the night. But 
]McNary requested them to move farther up the road, explaining that some 
of his family were sick. ^IcNary knew that Al Fowler and his men were 
in jMuhlenberg, and suspecting that they were close by feared a fight would 
take place near his home. Colonel Holloway then marched up the road 
near the residence of Thomas C. Summers, where the town of Earles now 
stands, and went into camp at what was known as the Becky Summers 
house, a vacant house on the Greenville and Madisonville Road. 

Fowler and his squad were south of the Summers place, and having 
located Holloway moved along a lane leading into the Greenville and 
i\Iadisonville Road to where the Federals had gone into camp. It being 

night, Fowler and his men 
tried to slip up on the Fed- 
erals, aiming to surprise and 
stampede them. But the Fed- 
erals were ready for the at- 
tack, and when they were shot 
at returned the fire. ^Nlany 
said that the first volley fired 
by the Federals killed Fow- 
ler; others stated that the 
Federal picket killed Fowler. 
His own men believed he was 
accidentally shot by one of his 
own squad. After Fowler 
was killed his men were 
routed and scattered and left 
the county. Porter succeeded Fowler as captain of the company. Hollo- 
way passed through Greenville the next day, going east, carrying Fowler's 
hat on the end of a long stick. Captain Fowler was with Forrest in the 
Sacramento fight and also took part in the battle of Fort Donelson. It 
is said that Fowler was the man who used his saber on John L. Williams 
at Sacramento. 

After the death of Captain Fowler, Jack Porter made a raid into the 
county and through Greenville. Jack Porter was a son of Henry Porter, 
a strong Union man who lived on the Greenville and Madisonville Road 
near where Luzern is now located. Thomas C. Summers, who conducted 
a store and tobacco house at his home on the JNIadisonville Road near 
Pond River, was in Greenville one day during this raid, getting some cash 
for use in his business. When he heard that Porter intended capturing 

Tlie brick residence erected Tjy Thomas C. Sum- 
mers at Earles in 1867 stands near the old store 
building and the abandoned log house, occupied by 
him during and before the Civil War. 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war" 301 

him and raiding his store, Summers, having no desire to be captured or 
raided, sprang into his saddle, left town, and rode home as fast as possible, 
hoping to reach his store before Porter could get there. Porter's men 
followed Summers for awhile, but he outdistanced them so much that they 
turned and moved in a body toward Pond River. Morris Moore and 
Dave Cain were with Porter. Both were jMuhlenberg boys, and took great 
delight in bushwhacking around. 

Moore, on one occasion, came to Greenville on a spying expedition and 
was run out of town by Buck Boone, a Federal soldier of the Third Ken- 
tucky Cavalry, who was at his home near town on a furlough. Boone 
determined to arrest Moore when apprised of his presence. Moore heard 
of this while in Sam Elliott's shoeshop on the Weir corner, and seeing 
Boone approach, snatched up a pair of boots and made for his horse, 
which was tied to a post on Cherry Street. Boone followed, and came 
within shooting distance of Moore just as Moore was getting on his horse. 
Boone blazed away, and Moore put spurs to his horse and left Greenville 
in double-quick time. 

During the winter of '62- '63 Isaac Miller resigned as captain of Com- 
pany F, of the Third Kentucky Cavalry, and returned to his home near 
Bremen. Moore, Cain, and a few others concluded that they would raid 
the Miller place and capture him and his horses, and they made a raid for 
that purpose. Captain Miller heard of the coming of the raiders just in 
time to mount his best horse and made his escape. After he had gotten 
out of their reach his horse fell and crippled him. Moore's raid proved a 
failure. Some Home Guards and Federal soldiers got together and fol- 
lowed his squad. Moore and his friends hastened back to their homes, 
located in the neighborhood that shortly after became McNary Station, 
on the Illinois Central Railroad. During this retreat Moore wanted his 
men to lay in ambush and fire on their pursuers as they passed, but he 
could not prevail on them to do so ; each went his own way home. The 
Union squad, expecting to find Moore and his gang at Cain's home, on 
the Esquire John S. Eaves farm near Clark's Mill, moved on it during the 
night and commenced firing at the house. A ball passed through the wall 
and struck the headboard of the bed, about six inches above his wife's head. 
Cain rushed out of the room, and while running from the house was shot 
in the back; he ran a little farther, when he fell dead. Moore continued 
on the warpath, sometimes in the Southern army and sometimes out, and 
after the war closed was killed by his brother-in-law, who shot him 
in self-defense. jMoore was a son of Bob Moore, who lived near ^IcNary 
Station; he was a relative of Thomas C. Summers and a nephew of the 
Reverend Isaac l^ard. 

Through the winter and spring of 1863, squads of Federal and Con- 
federate soldiers were occasionally seen in Muhlenberg County. A few 
Federal companies camped in Greenville some time during the spring and 
summer. Now and then a number of guerrilla companies would dash 
through the county, led by Jake Bennett and others. Six men belonging 
to the Thirty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry came into Greenville one day 
during the month of November, 1863, and stopped at the Reno Hotel. They 


stacked tlieir guns in the reception room and then took their horses to 
the livery stable. While they were gone Robert i\I. INIartin, with fifteen 
or twenty men, rode up and seized the guns of the Federals, went to the 
livery stable, and there made prisoners of all the Federals except one, 
who tore out the back way and escaped. 

The prisoners who were captured by Bob Martin informed him that 
about forty men of the Thirty-fifth Kentucky iMounted Infantry, com- 
manded by Lieutenant Ed ]M. Randolph, were' on their way to Greenville 
and would be in town in a short time. Martin at once sent the prisoners 
down to the bridge on Caney Creek and put out pickets on the different 
streets. ^Martin then made a visit to Hancock & Reno's store, and while 
there Lieutenant Randolph, with four or five men, came up but were halted 
by Martin's picket. When ]\lartin heard what was going on he ran out, 
got on his horse, and, with his picket, rode down the street in a hurry. 
Lieutenant Randolph and his men came up, and after inquiry, pursued 
and came in collision with one of Martin's pickets, who fired on one of 
Randolph's men, named Brown, but to no effect. It being dark Lieutenant 
Randolph followed only a short distance. Martin went down to the bridge 
on Caney, paroled his five prisoners, and left the county. 

One evening during the middle of December, 1863, INIartin and some 
of his men dashed into Greenville after dark, and with a few shots came 
very near taking the town. At least the people kept shy of him. He and 
his squad robbed tlie post-office and helped themselves to such things as 
they could use. Bob called upon his brother. Lieutenant James H. Martin, 
who belonged to the Thirty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, and who 
was then at home visiting his family. While Bob's men were lining 
up near the blacksmith shop preparatory to leaving, by request of 
Charles and Alney McLean he dismounted and stepped into their store. 
The INIcLeans were strong Southern men, and while J\Iartin was in the 
McLean brothers' store, Elisha Weir, a negro boy, came along and took 
]\Iartin's saddle-packs off the horse, hid them near by, and then passed on 
down the street. When Bob came back to his horse he discovered that 
his saddle-packs were gone. He procured a lantern and made a search, 
but could not find them. The squad did not stay long in town and left 
without Bob's saddle-packs. After Martin and his men had gone, Elisha 
Weir hid the saddle-packs until the next morning, when he opened them 
and found they contained a numl^er of handy tricks. The negro was 
highly pleased with his booty, and often remarked that he would like to 
see Bob ]\Iartin in town again. 

The day following this raid there took place what we boys regarded 
as the greatest event of 1863. This was the battle at the Coal Bank, fought 
about two miles north of Greenville. This so-called battle took place 
between Colonel Robert M. IMartin with a force of Southern troops, and 
Captain T. J. Lovela(;e in command of a force of Federals. Lovelace had 
been following Bob JMartin for several days, and finally brought him 
to a stand near the Coal Bank. When these men faced each other, 
they hesitated. Captain Lovelace, doubting that he had a sufficient 
number of men to capture Martin, dispatched an orderly sergeant to 

R. T. martin's "recollections of tpie civil war" 303 

Greenville, where Captain ]\I. J. Roark was teaching school, and asked 
for reinforcements, stating that a battle was going on at the Coal Bank. 

Captain Roark had quite a number of scholars who were of the muster 
age, and they were requested to prepare to follow him as soon as possible 
to the field of blood. We were all glad of the chance to show our valor and 
chivalry on the battlefield. We got ready, and — together with other re- 
cruits obtained in the town — formed a considerable squad. We all galloped 
off down the Rumsey Road at breakneck speed. The rattling of our horses' 
hoofs resounded upon the still air of the evening as if a furious charge of 
a grand cavalcade of a thousand dragoons was taking place. On and on 
we sped until we reached the Coal Bank, where to our surprise everything 
was as still as death. Twilight had kissed the hilltops and day was fading 
into night. We looked in every direction, but could see no human being. 
We put our hands to our ears, but not a sound could we catch except the 
voice of a night-owl perched on a limb and crying out his uncouth interro- 
gation, "Who — who are you all?" 

Our leader, Captain ^lorgan, of an Indiana regiment, was outwitted. 
He said: "It is strange that a battle should be fought in so short a time, 
leaving no sign, and that everything should be so quiet. We surely have 
missed the place of engagement." But the orderly sergeant assured him 
that we were on the battlefield. 

We then reconnoitered to the right to see if we could discover a camp. 
We swung around about two miles to the east and then turned toward 
Greenville, but were disappointed at the result of our chase. As we came 
into the road running from Greenville to South Carrollton we discovered 
a body of troops just ahead of us, so we followed on and when we reached 
the old Brank place near Greenville we found it was Lovelace's men going 
into camp. 

We learned from the men that when the two squads had arrived near 
the Coal Bank they were within sight of each other. The two commanders. 
Bob Martin and Captain Lovelace, then rode forward and met between 
their forces to make terms, but they could not agree. However, 
IMartin promised Lovelace that his men would not fire on Lovelace's 
men until Lovelace had gotten back to his place, for Lovelace had farther 
to go than ]\Iartin. But as soon as Martin got to his men, so we were told, 
they commenced firing on Lovelace's company, and Lovelace returned the 
fire and advanced on Martin. IMartin then beat a retreat and Lovelace 
pursued. IMartin was soon lost in the darkness of the night. 

That same night we returned to Greenville, much disappointed in not 
having had an opportunity of immortalizing our names with heroic deeds 
achieved upon a battlefield in defense of our country. We went to bed 
meditating upon our misfortune in not having reached the Coal Bank 
sooner. But the war was not over, and we therefore looked forward to 
fighting on another day. 

The next morning at daylight Colonel E. R. Weir, with a coilipany 
of the Thirty-fifth Kentucky ^Mounted Infantry, appeared in the court- 
house yard, where his men fed their horses and then had breakfast. A 
little while after sun-up Colonel Weir moved off with his command up 


the Mud River Road. In the meantime Captain Lovelace had left the 
Brank place and had moved down the Morton Ferry Road. Colonel Weir 
and Captain Lovelace joined forces about three miles east of Greenville 
and soon came up with the force under Bob ]\Iartin. After considerable 
skirmishing a regular encounter took place. Captain Sebastian C. Vick, 
who accompanied Colonel Weir, seeing IMartin's forces beginning to waver, 
brandished his sword, ordered a charge, and succeeded in dividing Martin's 
command. i\Iartin beat a rapid retreat, the right wing of his squad going 
north and the left wing south. Pursuit was made, but no one was captured, 
wounded, or killed. 

Captain ]\I. J. Roark was the Provost INIarshal of Greenville. W^hen the 
Bob Martin excitement began he declared martial law and put out pickets 
on every road leading into town. Captain Roark retained the schoolboys 
and some others to garrison the town in case there should be an attack. 

News was received from the eastern part of the county that heavy 
firing could be heard in that section and that troops had been seen along 
the road. Rumors reached us that shooting was going on at various places 
in the county, but verj^ little attention was paid to most of such statements. 
A dispatch came to Greenville ordering Captain Roark to send a squad 
of men to Lead Hill Church, on Long Creek, to intercept some of ^Martin's 
men. Captain Roark hated to disobey orders, but disliked very much to 
part with any of his reserve force, for in case of an attack he might not 
be able to hold possession of Greenville. However, he sent part of his 
reserve to Lead Hill Church. "We, who remained in town, kept under arms 
and stood prepared. 

Later in the evening another order came. It had been sent from the 
western part of the county and asked for help to be sent to Clark's :\Iill. 
on Pond River, to cut off the escape of some of Bob Martin's men. This 
was a "deadener" on Captain Roark, for to send off the remainder of his 
reserve would have left Greenville defenseless. But he saw that it had 
to be done, so he ordered the remainder of the reserve (which consisted 
principally of schoolboys) to go to Clark's Mill at once. We were very 
anxious for another chance, and hoped we would be more successful this 
time in getting into a real battle. Captain ]\rorgan was our leader, and 
we moved off down the Madisonville Road. 

There was an old gentleman with us who lived out on the road we 
traveled. He wanted to continue with our company, and had us stop at 
his home until he could see his wife and tell her where he Avas going, for 
he did not know but what he might be killed, and therefore wanted to kiss 
her goodbye. But it was some time before his wife came into the house. 
Captain Morgan did a little cussing while we were waiting. When tlie old 
lady returned, the gentleman informed his wife where he intended going 
and for what purpose. She told him that he could not go, but nuist stay 
at home. So he came out and said, "Well, boys, the jig is up with me— 
the old lady has done issued orders for me to stay at home ! ' ' 

We rode on; as we neared Clark's ^Nlill it began to get a littk- dusky. 
We noticed a woman on a horse, riding toward us. When she got witliin 
about one hundred yards of us. Captain :\[organ cried out to her. •Halt!" 

R. T. martin's "recollections op the civil war" 305 

and she stopped. Some of tlie hoys recognized her and toUl C'aptain Moroan 
that she was a well-known lady of the neighborhood, going home. Captain 
^forgan replied, "Sometimes men have on women's clothes." He said that 
he would investigate. When he came up to where she was ^lorgan took 
a good look at her. He let her pass, hut she was nearly scared to death. 

We arrived at Clark's IVIill liefore it was entirely dark. As we came up, 
a gentleman, who seemed badly scared, told us that Bob ^Martin witli part 
of his men had crossed the river not more than tv\'enty minutes before. 
We were disappointed again. We felt that if we had not stopped to wait 
for the old man on the road, we would have had a chance for a glorious 
battle and could have had something to recommend us. In the meantime 
night came on and we went into camp, thinking there was still some chance 
for us wuth the remnant of ^lartin's "army." We put out pickets and 
relieved them every two hours. About eleven o'clock that night the pickets 
reported that some men had come down the hill toward tlie river near 
our camp, and had then gone back. 

The next morning we started on our return to Greenville. A man living 
on the hill near by told us that a body of soldiers had come down close 
to the river, and seeing we were located there, went up the river above 
where we were encamped and crossed into Hopkins County. So that ended 
this campaign, and we returned, not as victors, but as would-])e valiant 
sons of liberty. We reached Greenville and found everything quiet. We 
were told that Bob Martin's entire^ army had left the county and had gone 
into Hopkins. 

However, Bob ^Martin was finally captured, and although that event 
took place nearly two years after the Battle at the Coal Bank, I shall here 
relate the incident and in that way try to give in a more connected form 
an account of Bob ^lartin's military career in JMuhlenberg. 

Martin's last romance in iNIuhlenberg took place during the fall of 1865. 
He had come to his father's, and while he was there a Federal officer, ]\Ia.ior 
Nelson C. Lawrence, of the Seventeenth Kentucky Cavalry, of Russellville, 
was in Greenville for the purpose of capturing ]\Iartin. This Federal officer, 
with some of the citizens of Greenville, went to the residence of Hugh 
Martin, the father of Bob, arrested Bob, and brought him to town. 

While Major Lawrence and a crowd of citizens were on the street in 
front of the Reno Hotel, Bol) Martin stood near a raised parlor window 
of the hotel, where there chanced to be sitting a Miss Beard, of Hartford, 
a young lady w^ho was visiting ^Ir. Reno's family. ^Martin, then under 
arrest, was near the window, and while conversing with Judge W. H. Yost, 
inquired who the lady was. Judge Yost told him, and Bob then asked 
for an introduction. After the introduction Bob asked jMiss Beard if ho 
could come in. She gave her consent. He then turned around and got 
permission from the officer, iNlajor Lawrence, who had him in charge, to 
speak to a lady acquaintance in the hotel parlor. When the request was 
granted, Martin stepped into the house through the window. In the mean- 
time, while the officer was busy talking and showing a silver pistol to the 
people who were standing around him, jMartin went through the hotel and 
out the back way and had made some headway before any one knew of 


his escape. The alarm was given and a pursuit commenced. Martin 
headed toward the old brick college on Cherry Street, where Professor 
E. W. Hall was teaching school; but it happened that the scholars were 
then having recess and heard the racket. The boys saw Bob Martin run- 
ning and the men after him. They joined the chase, but were ahead of 
the men and soon recaptured him and turned him over to the authorities. 
He was taken to Russellville and from there to Louisville and thence to 
New York, where a few months later he was pardoned. 

Bob Martin was born in Muhlenberg in 1840 and lived in the county 
until a few months before the breaking out of the war. I knew him well, 
lie frequently visited in the neighborhood where I was raised. Martin 
had spent four years in a great war, and had been in many dangerous 
and daring encounters. During the Civil "War he faithfully spent all his 
time in active service for the South. His military experiences in Muhlen- 
berg were trifles compared to his maneuvers in the South and in Canada 
and New York. He planned and executed with considerable military skill, 
but was at last captured by us schoolboys — at least we boys at that time 
felt confident that the men who were after him would not have recaptured 
him without our help.^ 

On one occasion during the year 1863, while a squad of Confederates 
skirmishing around Greenville had the town under pickets, two Federal 
soldiers — Captain C. H. Martin, of the Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, and 
Sergeant T. H. Martin, of the Third Kentucky Cavalry — were at home 
on a furlough. Both of them lived west of Greenville. They had called 
on some young ladies south of town, and were not aware of the presence 
of the Confederate soldiers. They expected to stop in Greenville a while 
on their return home. On arriving at the entrance to the Russellville Road 
they met a picket, who permitted them to pass, but seeing the Confederate 
soldiers on the streets they turned out on the Hopkinsville Road, desiring 
to get away as quickly as possible. They soon came to a picket on that 
road, who yelled "Halt!" to them as they were hurrying along. They, 
however, did not stop, but put spurs to their horses and were soon out of 
reach of the picket's fire. They made all possible speed for home, a dis- 
tance of about six miles, and there kept watch for awhile. They happened 
to be wearing citizens' clothes, otherwise they would probably have been 

Several companies of Federal troops passed through Muhlenberg during 
1864. Some of these camped for a while in Greenville ; however, the people 
of the county were still more or less annoyed by guerrillas. Some of these 
bands were led by Jake Bennett and some by Bob Martin. 

In the fall of 1864 Captain Quantrill, a noted guerrilla and a desperate 
man, came from jMissouri to Kentucky with a company of men dressed in 
the Federal uniform. They passed through Hopkins County, where his 
men captured a horse from a man named Dick Davis. Davis, believing 
them to be Federals, followed them into IMuhlenberg County and through 
Greenville. The people of Greenville were puzzled about the identity of 

^ See following chapter — "Robert M. Martin." 



Quantrill and his men, but some of them were suspicious and advised Davis 
not to follow ; however, Davis followed on. When they reached the Rhoads 
Settlement they killed Davis. When his body was found it was brought to 
Greenville and then conveyed to his home in Hopkins County. Some time 
afterward Quantrill was shot in an attempt to capture him in Meade 
County, and was taken to Louisville, where he died unrecognized in an 
hospital. It is said that Frank and Jesse James were with Quantrill 
when he passed through Muhlenberg. 

Some time during the same year S. D. Chatham had a daring adventure. 
S. D. Chatham, or "Uncle Sam," as he was called, was for many years 
Muhlenberg's leading cabinet-maker." He owned a fine mare, about four 
years old, which was grazing in a pasture where now stands the Greenville 
Light and Ice Plant. A band of guerrillas, after passing through Green- 
ville, went into this field, took out the young mare, and rode her off. 
A few hours later, when Chatham 
went down to get his stock, he saw 
that the mare was gone. He imme- 
diately suspected the guerrilla com- 
pany, and observed signs convincing 
him that they had taken her. He 
rushed back to town to get help. No 
one seemed disposed to follow, for it 
was getting late in the evening; so 
he determined to attempt the trip by 
himself. He mounted the dam of the 
stolen mare and started off, declaring 
he would get his highly prized four- 

He traveled up the Russellvillo 
Road for some distance, and although 
it had grown quite dark continued his 
search. Finally his attention was at- 
tracted by a noise in a fence corner, ' ^- ^- Chatham, i87o 
and upon investigation he discovered that it was the snoring of a sentinel, 
who had fallen asleep at his post. With ears alert and eyes now wider 
open than ever, he cautiously rode on. Before long he came to the 
guerrilla camp, where to his surprise he found all the men sound asleep, 
lying close to their horses. He paused, and while studying the situation 
heard a low nicker of recognition given by his stolen filly to her mother. 
By the dim light of the camp-fire he saw his four-j^ear-old tied to a tree. 
He cautiously dismounted, slyly stepped over, untied her, and tiptoed back 
to the old mare, followed by the stolen animal. He remounted and slowly 
started away from the camp, the young mare walking behind her mother. 

- S. D. Chatham was born in North Carolina February 14, 1810, came to 
Muhlenberg in 1836, and died in Greenville on April 25, 1882. Mr. Chatham and 
his wife, Madeline Gordon Chatham, were the parents of: L. Clark; Mrs. Martha 
(T. P.) Boggess; Joseph G.; Mrs. Lucy (T. J.) Tinsley; Mary A., who after 
the death of her first husband, W. H. Wilkinson, became the second wife of 
W. H. Dewitt; John E., and Mrs. Jennie (B. H.) Mann. 


He again passed the sleeping sentinel, and with his two horses deliberately 
returned to Greenville. The next morning, when the guerrillas found that 
the stolen horse was gone, they believed it had worked loose by not being 
sufficiently well tied ; the captain reprimanded the man who had had her in 
charge for not tying her better, and as a punishment made him walk to 

S. D. Chatham's feat was similar to those performed by Ethan Allen, 
Jasper, and Newton in the early history of the nation. It was a miracle 
he escaped with his life. Chatham was a brave and fearless man, as much 
so as any man who ever lived in the county, for in this incident he per- 
formed a feat that very few persons would have undertaken, and it is to 
be ranked as a remarkable act. 

The next man who aroused the people in ^Muhlenberg was General 11. B. 
Lyon. General Lyon was born and reared near Eddyville, in Lyon County, 
and was a member of a family of distinction. His grandfather. General 
.Matthew Lyon, was a noted man. Lyon County was named after H. B. 
Lyon's uncle, Chittenden Lyon. General Lyon was graduated from West 
Point in 1856 and shortly afterward entered the United States army. He 
had some experience as an Indian fighter on the frontier before he joined 
the Southern forces. General Lyon started toward Greenville with the 
announced intention of burning the courthouse. When he entered the 
northern part of the county the people of Greenville were apprised of his 
plan, and prepared to fight him and defend the town. The schoolboys and 
citizens got together all the guns and anununition that could be found. 
The crowd converted an old brick house on ^lain Street into a fort, had 
port-holes made in its walls, and prepared to hold Greenville at all hazards. 
We intended to give General Lyou the warmest reception of the war. The 
schoolboys and all the fighting men of the town fell into ranks. We were 
placed under the command of C'aptain Sebastian C. Vick, who was then 
in Greenville with his squad of scouts known as ''The Bold Kentucky 
Zouaves. ' ' 

There was a certain lawyer in town who was in sympathy with the 
South. He got his gun and joined our crowd to help defend the court- 
house. In Avalking back to us he passed a lady who was also in sympathy 
with the South. She said to him, "What do you mean? Colonel Lyon is 
our friend." He replied, "^Madam, I do not know who our friends are; 
nobody can be our friend who attempts to burn our property." The court- 
house was this lawyer's den — the place where he made his living — and he 
felt, therefore, that his duty was to help defend it. All the Union lawyers 
stood with him, and like him would have died in the defense of the old 

After we had made our preparations for General Lyon we waited and 
waited, until the time he could have gotten to Greenville had long passed. 
But he did not appear, so Lieutenant Sid Lewis, one of Vick's most valiant 
scouts, was sent down the Rumsey Road — the road over which Lyon would 
be most likely to come — to see whether he could learn anything about the 
movements of the enemy. Sid started oft" and was gone some time. When 
he returned he stated that he had not seen nor heard anything of the 
expected enemy. 


However, most ol' us still had hope that he would come. Later in the day 
a man from the northern part of the county came to town and reported 
that Lyon had gone west of Greenville. This news was a cloudburst on 
the firp. If anybody was ever disappointed it was the schoolboys and Cap- 
tain Bass Viek's men. Upon receipt of this news Vick and his "Bold 
Zouaves ■■ immediately mounted their chargers and galloped off toward 
Pond River, thinking that perhaps if they could not capture Lyon before 
he got out of the county they could, at least, scare him away from the 
courtliouse. It turned out afterward that they were not only too late, 
but had gone in the wrong direction. 

We school])oys were also greatly disappointed the way matters turned 
out. AV(' were expecting a glorious battle, in which we were to hav? 
immortalized ourselves upon the pages of our country's history as the 
most gallant and deserving heroes of the Civil War, for slaying the "Lyon 
of the Rebellion." But next morning, upon serious reflection, we came 
to the conclusion that a living man was worth more than a dead hero, and 
that several of us might have ])een killed in a ])attle with General Lyon. 
Such a loss, we boys thought, would have been a great blow to the county. 
We also knew that, after all, some of the greatest heroes in the world 
were those wlio had avoided many of the greatest difficulties in life. We 
had tlie consolation of having helped turn "the Lyon" from his prey and of 
l^reventing a great fright in Greenville, and of haying saved the courthouse. 

We later learned wdiat might have been General Lyon's reason for not 
coming to Greenville. The Secessionists, at this stage of the game, had 
become bolder and more numerous in the town and in the county, and 
they had nuu*h better facilities for communication. The Secession leaders 
in town sent him word warning him not to enter Greenville, saying that if 
he did he would have one of the warmest receptions and hardest fights 
he had ever had during his military career, for the schoolboys and most 
of the citizens of Greenville, backed up by Captain Viek's "Bold ZouaveS, " 
were fortified and proposed to "do him up." He received the report, 
but to what extent it influenced him to change his route was never known. 
At any rate. General Lyon did not come to Greenville, and the great ex- 
citement was soon over. 

What was probably the boldest prank that took place in ^luhlenberg 
during war times occurred in Greenville a short time before the close of 
the rebellion. A dozen men, some of whom it is said lived in Christian 
County, east and soutli of Wildcat Hollow, had rigged themselves up on 
the order of guerrillas. They were led by Captain Sypert, and made a 
dash down through ^Muhlenberg and into Greenville, robbing a number 
of houses along the road they traveled. They rushed into Greenville, 
flourishing their old pistols as if there were a regiment of men just l)ehind 
them. A good crowd was in town that day, and these boys made everybody 
stand in line, except a few who dodged back. They then commenced a 
general search through the pockets of about one hundred natives, and got 
.some good-sized wads of greenbacks. After they had finished searching 
pockets they turned their attention to the stores, and procured a lot of 
calicoes, ribbons, shoes, gloves, and all kinds of wearing apparel. Then 


they mounted their horses, took their plunder, and returned the way they 
came. On reaching their homes they disposed of the booty, returning 
to their work as usual. 

There was an incident that took place during this raid of the twelve 
men to Greenville which I shall here relate. It w^as on Saturday that the 
raid was made. On Friday evening Eugene Eaves and I went out from 
Greenville to my father's house near Pisgah Church, intending to go 
hunting the next day. So, early on Saturday morning, we took our guns 
and started to Pond River flats, where we hunted awhile and then turned 
back, reaching my father's about twelve o'clock. Upon our return we were 
told that twelve men had stopped there, ransacked the house and tore 
things up generally, and had then gone on toward Greenville. 

I had bought a new suit, which I had M'orn home the day before and 
had left in the house, in the meantime wearing my old hunting-clothes. 
One of the men picked up this new suit and would have taken it had not 
my sister interfered. They also went into her trunk, and among other 
things got hold of an envelope in which, unknown to the robbers, she had 
her money. She snatched the envelope from the men, saying that it con- 
tained her sweetheart's letters, and she wanted to keep them. She fol- 
lowed them through all their search, and in a good-humored way stopped 
them from taking anything of value. 

The twelve raiders did not stay long, but started for Greenville in a 
hurry. Tliej^ had left our home about an hour and a half before Eaves 
and I got back. We put our guns away and all of us were talking about 
the daring men when James F. Shelton, who lived about a mile south, 
on the road along which the desperadoes had traveled, came dashing up 
at breakneck speed on his horse "Charlie," a large baldfaced sorrel with 
spraddled hind legs. He stopped and halloed out in an excited manner, 
"Boys, get your horses and let us go to Greenville and help fight the 
guerrillas!" We told him to get down, and that as soon as we could eat 
a bite we would go with him. He came in, and we continued our talk 
about the robbers. While Eugene Eaves and I were still eating, some one 
in the room suddenly cried out, "Here come the guerrillas back!" p]very- 
body was thunderstruck, for this was something unexpected. 

Shelton inquired if there were any guns about the house. ]My brother, 
Charles, told him that they were out in "the cabin." Our guns were 
always kept in order in what we called "the cabin," a one-room liouse in 
the back yard, about seventy-five feet from the main building. Shelton 
and Charles ran to this small house. Our available fighting force was 
Shelton, my two brothers (Charles and Tom), Eaves, and Lee. But before 
we could get together the desperadoes divided us and none but Shelton. 
and Charles could get to the guns. The dash was so sudden that Eaves, 
Lee, my younger brother, and myself were cut off from the arsenal. Our 
force were all game men except myself, and I knew I would fight when 

About half of the robbers rushed into the house. Before they came 
into the room where Eaves and I were eating, I threw my pocket-book 
under the clothes-j)ress. As soon as two of them entered the room, Eaves. 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war" 311 

and Lee got up from the table. I kept my seat and continued to eat, but 
they seemed not to notice me. They searched Eaves and Lee, and got 
a plug of tobacco from one and a pocket-knife from the other. 

One of them next stepped out on the porch fronting the cabin and in 
full view from where Shelton and Charles were located with the guns. 
He was getting a drink of water, and while standing and drinking, Charles 
leveled his gun and whispered to Shelton, "Jim, must I shoot?" Shelton 
said, "No, don't shoot." When the man left the porch Charles and Jim 
came out of the cabin with their guns, preferring to have an open field 


As it appeared in 1900 

fight. We do not know whether the marauders saw them or not. They 
probably did, for in the meantime one of them asked my sister what so 
many men were doing there, and she told them that they were neighbors. 
At any rate, the "Dirty Dozen" got away in a hurry. 

As soon as the robbers had left the dining room Eaves, Lee, and myself 
made a break for the cabin, but Shelton and Charles were not there, and 
some of the guns were gone. We turned around and looked toward the 
road and saw the raiders leaving in a dash. We also saw Charles leveling 
his gun at one of the running men and heard him ask Shelton, ' ' Jim, must 
I shoot?" And Jim answered, "No, don't shoot unless they take my 
horse." The robbers rushed up the road, but did not take his horse. 

So they got off without any of them being killed. We were really glad 
of it, for we did not want to kill anybody, nor did we wish to be killed. 
It was Shelton 's self-control and deliberate judgment that no doubt saved 
several lives. Shelton was game and would fight an elephant if necessary, 
but he was governed on this occasion by prudence and discretion. Several 
of us might have been shot if the fight had commenced, for we would all 



have taken part. Shelton said that it was folly for two men to attack a 
dozen. Shelton was then a young husband, and no doubt thought of his 
young wife and children who needed his assistance. If we had known 
that the raiders were coming back so soon we would have been properly 
prepared to give them a warm reception. 

Tliey did not remain long. On their return from Greenville my sister 
met tliem at the door as they came in, and in her good-natured way checked 
tliem from any molestation. She was shown the nice plunder they had 
gotten at Greenville and was offered some of it, but declined to accept any. 
After the rol)bers had been gone about half an hour, five neighbor men 
came riding up with guns. They had been hunting on Pond River. We 
told them of our experience. The crowd discussed the question of pursuit, 
but finally came to the conclusion that the ''Twelve Raiders" could not 
be overtaken. 

I remember that, on one occasion during 1864, Jake Bennett passed 
tiirough the county and Greenville. He came in from the southern part 
of :\Iuhlenberg, where he captured Jesse Taggart, who was a leader of the 
Home Guards and a very active Union man. Bennett shaved Taggart 's 
head, then turned him loose, and came on to Greenville. He dashed into 
town one Sunday morning with about twenty men, greatly to the surprise 
of the people. Quite a crowd of negroes was on the streets at the time. 
Bennett's men began "shooting up" the town, and the negroes commenced 
running and scattered about like young partridges, some hallooing, "Oh, 
Lordy! Oh, Lordy!" After Bennett had cleared the street his men l)roke 
open the door of Hancock & Reno's store, went in and helped themselves, 
and then left town, going north. In about an hour a company 
of Federals came up in pursuit, but they did not overtake the 
Bennett band. 

Jake Bennett made his last raid througli iMuhlenberg County in 1865. 
Bennett and Gentry, with parts of two companies, came down the Russell- 
ville Road the last Monday in IMarch, 1865; it was county court day, and 
many people were in Greenville. It was Bennett's intention to pass through 
the town and raid the place, but when he heard that there was a company 
of Federal infantry then in Greenville he and his men turned out from 
tlie Russellville Road at a point about three miles south of town, and bore 
around east. All the people wlio had come to town and were returning 
home on the Russellville Road were stopped. Some were turned back, 
some captured; some were relieved of their money, and some were forced 
to swap or surrender horses. They kept picking up the natives, and soon 
had quite a crowd of prisoners on their hands. 

They experienced some troul)le with Alney Newman, who lived in that 
neighlioi'liood near Pond Creek. A lieutenant under Gentry asked Newman 
what his politics were. Newman, being angry, answered in a stubborn 
manner that lie was a Union man. He was then ordered to get off his horse; 
lie refused, and they beat him over the head with their pistols. After 
lie liad l)een pretty badly bruised he got down. They next told him to 
take off' liis saddle, and when he refused to comply the lieutenant ordered 
tlie squad to cock their guns and level them at Newman. At this juncture 

R. T. martin's "recollections of the civil war" 313 

David ]Mai"tin, one of the captives and a neighbor of Newman, rode up 
to Newman and advised him to take his saddle off. Newman then said, 
■'If you say so, Dave, I will do it." Ninvman then removed his saddle, 
and in exchange for Jiis young aniiual they gave him a poor old horse 
that died the next day. 

Bennett in his march toward Greenville captured Joseph G. Chatham 
and his younger brother John, who were out after seed oats. Bennett 
told Joseph G. Chatham that if he would pilot them east of Greenville and 
toward South Carrollton he and his horse would not l)e molested. So 

As it appears to-day 

Chatham led them around until they struck the Greenville and South 
Carrollton Road below Powderly, where all their prisoners M'ere turned 
loose. The captives, some twelve or fifteen in number, immediately started 
for Greenville. It was dark, but most of them were familiar with the 
old road. When they reached Caney Creek Bridge, just north of town, 
they were jialted by a squad of Federals led by Captain Roark, who was 
on the lookout for Bennett. Roark "s soldiers were as much frightened 
as surprised when they saw this squad of citizens coming up the public 
highway at that time of night. When Captain Roark learned that Bennett 
had taken the South Carrollton road he and his men started in pursuit, 
but soon returned. Bennett continued his march to South Carrollton, 
thence through the northern part of ^luhlenberg and into Hopkins and 
Union counties, where they disbanded tlie first of April, a few days before 
the surrender of General Lee. 

The Greenville Hotel, which still stands, on the east side of Main Street 
about fifty yards north of ]\Iain Cross Street, and the Reno House, which 
stood on the northwest corner of Main and Main Cross streets, were the 
war hotels. 


The Greenville Hotel was the headquarters of the Secessionists and the 
hotbed of Southern sympathizers of the county. It was a general Con- 
federate rendezvous, where the Confederate interests would be discussed, 
plans suggested, and secrets divulged by the lovers of Dixie living in the 
county. They woidd report at the Greenville Hotel to give and receive 
war news, and would sympathize with one another at the reception of 
unfavorable reports. The best drinks were always kept in this house, to 
help brace up those who might become despondent and disheartened as a 
consequence of the way in which matters went. The place was always 
kept lively and full of fun. It was a noted place for the relating of 
wonderful and windy narratives, conundrums, yarns, and sells. No 
melancholy disposition existed there. Its life and invigoration were kept 
up by the generous and affable disposition of the proprietors, together with 
the frequency of stimulating drinks. After the close of the war the Green- 
ville Hotel became the Democratic headquarters of the county. Here all 
their councils took place and their methods and policies were adopted for 
the campaigns. 

The Reno House was the Federal headquarters for the county during 
the war. Caucuses and consultations were held within its walls. Plans 
and methods were considered as to how to save the Union and put down 
the Rebellion. News was received and sent out from this hotel. In 1864 
Major Hudson Brown, son of pioneer Nathaniel Brown, was shot and killed 
by Fred Harper in front of the Reno House, near the barroom. They 
were both Muhlenberg men and Federal soldiers. Brown was a young 
man, who had just been promoted to the rank of major in the Union army. 
After the war the Reno House was made the headquarters of the Republican 
party of the county, and remained so until the death of L. R. Reno. 

Democratic leaders fought shy of the Reno House and the Republican 
leaders did likewise to the Greenville Hotel. The two houses were com- 
petitors in. policies as well as in business. 

The length and enormity of the Rebellion surpassed the expectations 
of everybody. To most of the people of the county the freeing of the 
negroes was an unexpected act. Lincoln's proclamation put a different 
phase on the situation and caused many jMuhlenberg citizens to backslide 
and lose much of their love for the Union. Some of the people in the 
county came to the conclusion that they had been pulling too hard at the 
wrong end of the political rope. 1 shall here briefly refer to the develop- 
ment and changes in political affairs. 

While the war was still going on some felt that the Rebellion with all 
its bullets was a failure. So in iMuhlenberg County and in Kentucky a 
rebellion was raised and fouglit out with ballots. ]Many who had supported 
the Federal side in the Rebellion with bullets, joined the Secession forces 
to fight under their tiag and colors in the battle with ballots. Those who 
joined the Secession ranks to fight with ballots called themselves Con- 
servatives. They were opposed to the continuation of the war with bullets, 
saying that it was a failure and ought never to have been fought. So, 
by 1865, a general uprising against the Republican party took place. 

R. T. martin's ''recollections op the civil war" 


The war with ballots began to flourish about the time the war with 
bullets ended. The Insurgents fused with the Secessionists to wage the 
war with ballots, which gave them a good majority in the county and 
State. This kind of warfare became national, and continued for a number 
of years. 

Great was the change in some of the most determined and valiant 
Union men from positions they had occupied in 1861 and 1862. I recollect 
hearing a man say, in the fall of 1861, that he could hew the rebels down 
with a broadax, and in 1864 the same man declared that the war was all 


This hotel was managed by Lawson R. Reno from 185i to 1890; destroyed by fire 1903. 

A modern three story building now stands on this corner 

wrong and that the negroes ought not to have been freed. He seemed 
to advocate the doctrine of Secession, but called himself a Conservative ; 
yet he admitted his regeneration by Southern grace. 

When the Secession element saw the stampede of the Union men coming 
from the support of the Federal government they rejoiced and were glad. 
They told the Insurgents and backslidden Unionists that the Radicals, as 
they called them, would certainly ruin the country by putting the negroes 
to rule over the white people of the South, and would make slaves of them. 
This kind of talk fired the simple-minded people to a high degree. The 
leading Secessionists of the county and State told the heart-broken people : 
' ' Vote with us, and w^e can save the country from an awful doom ; it is 
the only way it can be done. Now we want the Insurgents to lead off in 


opposition to the Radicals, for opposition is all that we can recommend 
or propose, and we will follow you through evil as well as good report. ' ' 

So, as stated before, in 1865, at the closing of the rebellion of bullets, 
a general uprising against the Republican party took place. The Repub- 
lican party, that had put down the rebellion of bullets, had enacted and 
passed the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the Con 
stitution of the United States, in order to make our nation a great and 
progressive country, one that could be truly called "the land of the free 
and the home of the brave." 

In order to defeat the Republicans for what they had already done 
and for what they might do, the Secessionists advised the selecting and 
nominating of candidates for office from among the Insurgent or deserting 
ranks, as a kind of feeler for the future. So in 1865 the Secessionists 
and Insurgents agreed on the nomination of a man for Congress in the 
Second Congressional District of Kentucky, of Avhich Muhlenberg was 
then a part. This nominee, in 1861 and 1862, was a vehement uncom- 
promising Union man, and at that time denounced the Secessionists and 
the rebellion of the Soutli. But his feelings were hurt by the enactment 
of the amendments to the Constitution, which caused him to have different 
views. He was an example of where "circumstances alter cases." He 
made the race in 1865 and beat his Republican opponent by a considerable 
majority, opening up the way for better times. But in the next con- 
gressional election a thoroughbred, wool-dyed Secessionist got the nomina- 
tion. The Insurgent then concluded that he would run on his Conservative 
strength, l)ut in the race he received very few votes ; the Secessionist won 
by a large majority over both the Insurgent and the Republican candidates. 
This was the retirement of the Insurgent, and he ever afterward remained 
passive in politics. 

In 1866 the county election was iield in ]\Iuhlenberg for county officers. 
The Union, or Republican, party had held the county offices during the 
war. The Secessionists thought best to bring out and nominate the 
Insurgents. So, for county judge, a man was nominated who had been 
a colonel in the Federal army but who had gotten his feelings hurt on 
account of the freeing of the negroes, which caused him to backslide. 
For county attorney they brought out an old man who had reached a 
point where he had conscientious scruples in regard to the emancipation 
of the negroes and the Republican management of the government, which 
caused him to apostatize. For county clerk they nominated a man who 
was at the beginning of the war an uncompromising Union man, but the 
changes resulting from the Rebellion did not altogether meet with his 
approval, for they stood between liim and his Union patriotism, causing 
him to see as through a glass darkly. For sheriff they had a man who had 
always remained neutral, and stood for the Union and the Constitution 
as it was. For assessor they brought out a man who at the commencement 
of the Rel)ellion was a Union man, but became an Insurgent for the want 
of faith in the run of things. For jailer they nominated a man who never 
knew for certain what his political inclinations were. All of these men 
were elected over their Republican opponents. The Insurgents and the 


backslidden Unionists became stepping-stones for the regular Secessionists 
to get official control of the county and the State. They were then retired 
to the rear and became "hewers of wood and drawers of water," and were 
used as safeguards for the regular Secessionists, who held control of the 
county for a quarter of a century. 

As remarked in the beginning of these reminiscences, my memory re- 
garding these occurrences may not l)e correct in every detail. However, 
such are my recollections of some of the military, political, and other 
maneuvers that took place in ]Muhlenberg County during war times. 


THE Civil War produced no higher type of the fearless and danger- 
loving soldier — no more perfect exemplar of the romantic and 
picturesque partisan ranger — than Robert Maxwell Martin of 
Muhlenberg, who came to be known, in war and in peace, as 
Colonel "Bob" Martin. His daring exploits, his narrow escapes, his cool- 
ness and good humor in the very face of death, his keen search ever for 
the post of danger, won the admiration of friend and foe alike, and have 
been noted generously in several books of Civil War history. These were 
written and published after his death, and were not the products of 
friends seeking to celebrate a living man. He was most modest, and always 
reticent of his own adventures. To the day of his death he possessed that 
natural quality of the buoyantly active man of living wholly in the present, 
and paying little regard to the glories of the past or to the prospects of the 

Robert ]\Iaxwell IMartin was born in Muhlenberg a few miles northwest 
of Greenville, January 10, 1840, on what is now the County Poor Asylum 
farm. His father, Hugh Martin, reared four sons and three daughters, 
all of whom were born in the county, but who are no longer represented 
here. All of the family were followers of the Union cause except Robert. 
Two of the sons were in the Union army — Lieutenant Templeton B. Martin, 
of Company B, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, and Lieutenant James H. 
IMartin, of Company F, Thirty-fifth Kentucky IMounted Infantry. William, 
the eldest son, did not take up arms. The father was a strong Unionist, 
as were the McDonalds and Roarks, to whom the Martins were related. 
Robert was the only one who threw his fortunes in with the South, and he 
fought from the beginning of hostilities in Western Kentucky until the 
final surrender at Appomattox. He was twenty-one when the war began. 
He was an ideal free cavalry leader, unsurpassed as a scout, and the idol 
of his soldiers as the leader of a forlorn hope. 

IMartin was one of the first to enlist in Colonel N. B. Forrest's regiment 
of Confederate cavalry, where his qualities as a scout were quickly 
recognized and made use of. When Adam R. Johnson came up from Texas 
and enlisted with Forrest in 1861 it was on condition that he be made a 

^ Colonel Martin's military career is treated of at length in "The Partisan 
Rangers," by General Adam R. Johnson (1904); "Morgan's Cavalry," by General 
Basil W. Duke (1909); and "Confederate Operations in Canada and New York," 
by Captain John W. Headley (1906). Authority for many of the statements made 
in this sketch may be found in these books. General A. R. Johnson is now (1913) 
living ai Burnet, Texas; General Duke and Captain Headley reside in Louisville. 



scout, for which service long experience on the frontier well fitted him. 
"Very well," said Forrest. "If you can equal Bob ]Martin, I will have a 
fine team for scouting." Thus began a close association between the two 
daring and fast-moving riders. 

When Colonel Forrest and his men were on their skirmish movement 
from Ilopkinsville toward Rumsey, Martin and Johnson acted as chief 
scouts. On December 28, 1861, 
Forrest's cavalry arrived near 
Sacramento, McLean County, and 
Martin there fought his first 

There were no limits to the 
audacity of Martin and Johnson, 
which they indulged at the outset 
with the delight of boys — as they 
were. On one occasion, getting in- 
formation that Colonel James S. 
Jackson had collected a large 
number of cavalry horses for the 
Union army on the farm of Willis 
Field, near Owensboro, these two 
scouts, needing horses for their 
recruits, prepared an order for 
twelve horses in due form, to which 
they signed the name of General 
Thomas L. Crittenden, Jackson's 
superior officer. They then pre- 
sented the order, got the horses — 
together ^^■ith their breakfasts — 
and departed in triumph. It was not until two days later that Field, Jack- 
son, and Crittenden compared notes and discovered that they had been 
outwitted of a dozen fine mounts. The horses were delivered to Forrest. 

On another occasion they, with one other companion, attacked under 
cover of night a garrison of Union troops at Henderson. From close 
range across the street on a summer night they fired into the garrison, 
causing excitement and confusion, alarming the town, and giving to the 
attack the appearance of an onset in force by a strong body. They made 
their escape, and Martin had the daring to return from the country three 
days later under a flag of truce, demanding the retraction of statements 
made in a town meeting and threatening an immediate attack on the town. 
The retractions were made, but the whole Confederate "force" amounted 
to three men, who greatly enjoyed the wild alarm they had created. 

The thrilling experience of these da6:'ing scouts and spies of Forrest's 
at Donelson, and likewise during the Shiloh campaign, are told in detail 
by General Johnson. After the battle of Shiloh, Forrest loaned Johnson 
and Martin to General John C. Breckinridge, who sent them to Kentucky, 


= A description of the fight at Sacramento, written by Adam R. Johnson, and 
another account by Richard T. Martin, are quoted elsewhere in this volume. 



where they began recruiting in Webster and Henderson counties and in- 
augurated hostilities hundreds of miles in the rear of Grant's army, and 
here fought and dodged from county to county until November, 1862, by 
which time they had enlisted a regiment of cavalry. 

During this expedition, with about twenty-five men, they crossed the 
Ohio from opposite Newburg, Indiana, and took the guns that had been 
stored there in the Union arsenal. Johnson says that, before crossing the 
river, "I ordered our horses to be placed where they would make as big 
a show as possible to the people on the other side, and from two pairs of 


Up to about 1865 this was one of the best farms in Muhlenberg. Some of the brick 

houses built and occupied by his father, Hugh Martin, are still standing 

old wagon wheels, with their axles, a stovepipe, and a charred log. I soon 
had manufactured two of the most formidable-looking pieces of artillery 
into whose gaping mouths a scared people ever looked." With these prep- 
arations Martin and Johnson alone crossed the river in a skiff, bearing a 
flag of truce. Tbe Union garrison was a small one, guarding a hospital and 
supplies. The two scouts demanded possession of all the guns, and pointed 
to the frowning "cannon" on the oi)posite shore, discreetly masked ])ehind 
bushes and just as discreetly revealed in part. Fearing a bombardment of 
the town, the guns were surrendered, with the ammunition, and Martin 
and Johnson transported them across the river. 

The regiment tliey had raised was added to General John H. ^lorgan's 
command as the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry; C. S. A. Johnson, as the elder, 
was made Colonel, and Martin Lieutenant-Colonel. They went on ^lorgan's 


December, 1862, raid into Kentucky. Later Johnson was detailed by the 
Secretary of War as the bearer of dispatches to General Magnider, in 
Texas. During his absence Martin commanded the regiment, and many 
daring feats are recorded of his adventures and of his conduct in battle by 
Johnson and also by General Duke in his history of ^Morgan's cavalry. 
Duke des('ribes Martin as a man of extraordinary dash and resolution, very 
shrewd in partisan warfare. He was a very whirlwind to harry the enemy's 
supplies and interrupt their communication. He would charge his ad- 
versary on any good fighting chance, and would come out with a seemingly 
charmed life. At Snow's Hill, Tennessee, General Morgan sent him with 
his regiment to threaten the Union right, and he charged upon a battery 
with dauntless courage. 

One incident at Milton, Tennessee, in March, 1863, was described to 
General Duke by an eyewitness, ilartin's regiment had been ordered to 
charge a Union battery and capture it or keep it busy. They were re- 
pulsed at the first onset, but Martin rallied them from the rear and then, 
some distance in advance, again led them against the hill. "Just here," 
says the eyewitness quoted by Duke, "Martin performed one of those acts 
of heroic but useless courage, too common among our officers. When his 
regiment wavered and commenced to fall back, he halted until he was left 
alone ; then at a slow walk rode to the pike, and with his hat off rode slowly 
out of fire. He was splendidly Diounted, wore in his hat a long black plume, 
was himself a large and striking figure, and I have often thought that it 
was the handsomest picture of true and desperate courage I saw in the 


" 3 

At McMinnville, Tennessee, in 1863, Martin received a bullet-wound 
in the lung, and was laid up for several months. He was at the head of 
his regiment on Morgan 's disastrous raid into Ohio ; he escaped into West 
Virginia with four hundred troops, and was soon clearing the country in 
East Tennessee of bushwhackers while Morgan's scattered troops were re- 
assembling at Morristown. 

This remnant of Morgan's command under Martin fought in Forrest's 
division at the battle of Chickamauga. Johnson says: "Colonel Martin, 
with one of the battalions, was chosen to open in advance of our infantry 
the great battle of Chickamauga, on the right. By their gallantry in charg- 
ing and running out of their fortified position the Federal infantry, the 
Kentuckians attracted the attention of General Hill, who sought out 
General Forrest during the thickest of the fight and complimented him on 
their action. Subsequent to the battle it was again Martin who, with his 
battalion, drove the defeated Federals out of their advanced works at 
Chattanooga. ... It was a memorable morning the next day after this 
brilliant feat of arms; Martin had formed our boys in the outskirts of 
Chattanooga, when General Forrest came riding down the line of tlie 

3 A Union soldier in the battery Martin ctiarged, describing the circumstance 
after the Civil War, said: "He sat his walking horse with his hat in his hand, 
scratching his head as if to say, 'Well, I don't understand this running away.' 
It was so fine a display of supreme courage that our commander ordered the 

firing to cease, saying, 'It will be a d d shame for so brave a man to be shot 

in the back.' " 


Kentucky battalion, and taking oft' his hat in honor of the prowess they 
had shown, exclaimed, 'Any man who says that Morgan's men are not good 
soldiers and fine fighters tells a damn lie ! ' " 

Duke says that this regiment of Morgan's men at Chickamauga, under 
Colonel Martin, "fired the first and last shots in that terrible struggle," 

After Chickamauga, Colonel Martin chose a small detail and started 
for Western Kentucky to recruit a new regiment, most of his men being in 
Northern prisons or dead. He had many adventures in Christian, Trigg, 
and Hopkins counties. In December, 1863, at the head of his recruits, he 
entered Muhlenberg, and at eight o'clock at night charged unprotected 
Greenville, his men yelling like Indians. Captain Headley thus records 
the incident: 

' ' There was a general stampede and great excitement among the popula- 
tion. This was a hotbed of Unionism, and the offensive Union men dreaded 
Martin. Others greeted us cordially. A detail went to the post-office and 
got the postage stamps and envelopes. We now had twenty dollars' worth 
of United States spoils. After Colonel Martin had spent an hour with his 
friends we rode out toward Hartford, soon turned, made a circuit around 
Greenville toward Hopkinsville, and camped w^ith good fires until sunrise 
the next morning. After breakfast we went toward the Greenville and 
Madisonville Road to learn if we had been pursued. It was the purpose 
now to go back to Madisonville if any of its garrison had followed us to 
Greenville. We entered a long lane through a farm, and Colonel Martin 
inquired at the house, about midway. He heard of three different com- 
panies that were in pursuit, but got no information as to where they 
belonged. Just before we reached the end of the lane it was observed that 
dense woods were in front and extended around to the right over a hilly 
region. . . . 

"The fence on the left extended about fifty yards farther than on the 
right side of the lane we were in. Cyrus Crabtree, wearing a Federal 
overcoat, was the advance guard, and at the end of the lane he observed 
a company of Federals about two hundred yards to the left across a little 
old unfenced field. There was a small ravine that ran through it, about 
midway between our ridge and the one where the Federals had halted. 
Crabtree stopped and motioned back to us. JNIartin halted the column and 
galloped up to Crabtree, then called out to the Federals and asked who 
was in command. 'Captain Jeff Roark,' was the response. 'Where from?' 
inquired Martin. 'Hopkinsville,' was the answer, followed with the 
inquiry, 'Who are you?' 'Captain Wilkes from Henderson. Send a man 
down half way,' answered Martin. 'All right,' said Roark. Martin di- 
rected Crabtree to go and get all that Roark knew about us. Crabtree 
and Roark met down in the little ravine, while both sides sat quietly and 
looked on. Colonel Martin called out to Crabtree, 'Is it all right?' 'Yes,' 
responded Crabtree; 'he wants to see you. Captain.' IMartin trotted his 
horse down to meet his old friend. They had been boys together in the 
same neighborhood. Captain Roark was astonished when he recognized 
Colonel Bob Martin. I heard Martin laughing as he said, 'Well, Jeff, we 
ought to shake hands over a joke like this.' 'I think so too, Bob,' said 



Roark, and they greeted each other cordially. They then talked for a few 
minutes, and separated, each galloping back to his command, and Martin 
announced that he was going to fight. ' ' 

The small figlit that ensued near the Coal Bank resulted in no serious 
casualties, although it continued as a running skirmish all next day. One 
incident illustrates Colonel Martin's marvelous resourcefulness and activity. 
In retreating across a "branch" with high banks, the overhanging boughs 
of a tree swept him over the rump of his horse. As he slid down he grasped 
the tail of the animal with both hands and held on until a soldier caught 
the bridle and he remounted coolly and pursued his way, laughing at the 
accident. ■* 

Martin and his men found no welcome in iMuhlenberg and he went 
South, where he joined General Morgan, who had by that time made his 
escape from prison. In Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia he was 
ever busy and always in danger. At Mt. Sterling, June, 1864, he was badly 
wounded in the foot, and had his horse killed under him; but he was in 
the field next day in a buggy, keeping up with his column. Two days later 
he was in the saddle, his wounded foot on a pillow, his knee over the pommel 
of the saddle, woman-fashion, the other foot in the stirrup, leading a 

This wound disabled him for a time, and he was sent to Canada with 
letters from Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of State for the Confederacy, 
where he was to aid in harrying the North from the frontier. At New 
York the plan of burning the city by setting fire to nineteen hotels at the 
same time was attempted; the fires were started, but were extinguished be- 
fore much damage was done. He was at the head of a party of ten, includ- 
ing Captains J. Y. Beall, John W. Headley, and R. C. Kennedy, who were 
to attempt the rescue of seven Confederate generals while they were being 
transferred by rail from Johnson's Island to New York. They missed the 
prisoners, however, and the daring undertaking failed of accomplishment. 
Beall was arrested and hanged in February, 1865, as was also Kennedy soon 
afterward, butllartin and Headley managed to reach Cincinnati in safety 
and from there they went to Louisville. 

Headley says there were about twenty thousand troops in camp in and 
around Louisville at this time, under Major-General John ]\I. Palmer. 
Major Fossee, of his staff, kept three fine horses at headquarters. About 
ten o'clock one morning Martin and Headley cornered the orderly and 
hostler in the stable, who being unarmed readily surrendered. ]\Iartin and 
Headley led two of the horses out, handing the orderly a slip of paper on 
-which Headley had written : 

Compliments of 

Col. Robert M. Martin 

Lieut. John W. Headley 

10th Kentucky Cavalry, C. S. A. 
Feby. 28, 1864. 

* The story of "Bob" Martin's military career as it appeared to Muhlenbergers 
is also told in Richard T. Martin's "Recollections of the Civil War," the preceding 


On these horses they made their way to Virginia, only to hear of Lee's 
surrender a few days after their arrival. Martin, after spending a few 
months in Cuba and Tennessee, proceeded to Bowling Green, then down 
Green River to Paradise. He had been recognized at Bowling Green, and 
was followed. He was arrested in Greenville and taken in irons to Louis- 
ville and thence to New York, where he was thrown into Fort Lafayette on a 
charge of treason. He was one of those men who by their daring and 
activity, especially in the North, were relied upon to incense the Northern 
people and bring about the trial and conviction of Jefferson Davis and the 
other leaders of the Confederacy on this same charge of treason. Colonel 
Martin was examined and held for trial under indictment. An attempt was 
then made to induce him to give testimony against Davis, as the price of 
his life. But the prosecutors were dealing with a fearless man. "I not 
only have nothing to tell about Mr. Davis," he told his jailers, "but if I 
knew anything I would not tell it ! " It is said that he was tried and con- 
victed but that upon appeal his case was remanded for trial in another 
district. If this be true, he was the only man convicted of treason growing 
out of the Civil "War. At any rate, he was not put on trial a second time. 
In the summer of 1866 he was pardoned unconditionally by President 

From war Colonel Martin returned to the paths of peace cheerfully, and 
plunged into business with all the energy he had displayed in war. He 
speculated in tobacco and made several fortunes, each of which he lost in 
turn. He traveled much abroad, and on one trip returning met on the 
steamer a Miss Wardlaw, of Murf reesboro, Tennessee. This chance meeting 
resulted in an early marriage. They had one daughter, named Oceania, 
after the steamship on which they had met. It was the death of this 
daughter, "Ocey" Martin Snead, that brought her mother and maternal 
relatives into such trying and pitiful prominence in New York in 1910,. 
nearly ten years after Colonel Martin's death. There was no son. 

Up to a few years before his death Colonel Martin occasionally visited 
friends in Muhlenberg. On one of his trips to Greenville, some fifteen 
years before the old and dilapidated courthouse was replaced by the present 
building, he jokingly remarked, "I have often regretted that I did not try 
to burn that old courthouse when I passed through here during the war,, 
for if I had Muhlenberg w^ould now have a better courthouse." Probably 
only those who remember the old brick courthouse during the last few 
years of its existence can fully appreciate the humor of this remark. 

Martin was tall and slender, yet strongly built, walking with the erect,, 
springy ease of an Indian until after he had received two severe wounds in 
war, one of which ultimately caused his death. He had a somewhat swarthy 
complexion, piercing blue eyes, a full nose with a hawk bridge, sandy hair 
that was inclined to curl, a winning smile, and a bearing in which courtesy 
and consideration united to render him attractive to all with whom he 
came in contact. He was devoid of all pretense, yet decisive, resourceful,, 
and grim in the execution of his projects. 

The life of Martin after the war is thus summarized by Captain 
Ileadley: "Colonel Robert M. Martin, after his release from prison, in 


1866, settled at Evansville, Indiana, and engaged in the tobacco warehouse 
business. In 1874 he removed to New York City. For fourteen years he 
was manager of tobacco inspections for David Dowes & Co. in their 
Brooklyn warehouses. He located at Louisville in 1887, engaging in the 
tobacco brokerage business. In the fall of 1900, his old wound in the lung 
having produced frequent hemorrhages, his health gave way. He bade me 
good-by in October, 1900, upon his departure for New York, where he 
hoped some specialist might prolong his life, but he died on the 9th day of 
January, 1901. He was sixty-one years of age. . . . He is buried 
in Greenwood Cemetery, New York City." 



UHLENBERG was represented in the Civil War by about one 

thousand soldiers. About 85 per cent of these were in the 

Federal army, about 15 per cent in the Confederate army. The 

following are brief biographies of a few of IMuhlenberg's soldiers 

who lived in the county during all or the greater part of their lives. 

General Don Carlos Buell. For portrait see page 237. 

John Coombs was born January 13, 1840. He is a son of Asa Coombs, 

who settled in Muhlenberg in 1848, 
near Rockport, Ohio County. ETe 
was a sergeant in Company IT, 
Eleventh Kentucky Infantry (Fed- 
eral), and served with that com- 
pany during the greater part of 
the war. After its close he took 
up farming until he was elected 
jailer, when he moved to the 
county seat. He filled that office 
from 1882 to 1890. He continued 
to live in Greenville about ten years 
longer, filling in the meantime 
various town offices, after which 
he returned to his farm, where he 
remained until he retired from 
active life, when he again took up 
liis residence in Greenville. He 
married ^lary J., daughter of B. T. 
Casebier, who was an influential 
farmer in the eastern part of the 
county. Their only son is Joseph 
Edward Coombs, a merchant of 
Captain Arthur N. Davis. For portrait see page 192. 
Japha N. Durall was born on a farm in the Bethel neighborhood, 
northwest of Greenville, March 19, 1844, and died on the same farm 
July 29, 1912. He was a corporal in Company H, Eleventh Kentucky 
Infantry (Federal). Some of the most largely attended soldiers' re- 
unions held in the county have taken place on his farm. He was a 
farmer during the greater part of his life, and also operated a saw- 
mill for a number of years. Ilis wife was America Jane Woodburn, 
a sister of Doctor J. T. Woodburn. Most of their children still live 
in the Bethel neighborhood, where they occupy good farms. 




Francis M. Finley, a Federal soldier, and Thomas ^I. Finley, a Con- 
federate soldier, were brothers, members of one of the dozen or more 
families in Muhlenberg that were 
represented in both armies. They 
were born in the Long Creek country 
on what is known as the Finley Farm, 
and were among the best-known 
farmers in that section of the county. 
They were sons of William H. Finley, 
who settled in the southern part of 
the county about 1830, where he died 
in 1852. His wife was Cynthia Wag- 
ner, daughter of a well-known local 

Francis Marion Finley was born 
April 15, 1833, enlisted in Company 
I, Forty-eighth Kentucky Infantry 
(Federal), in March, 1863, and re- 
mained with that company until it 
was mustered out of service in Decem- 
ber, ]864. He married Susan S., JApha n. durall, isei 
daughter of John W. Shelton, who lived near Old Liberty and was of 
one of the oldest families in the county. Francis M. Finley died March 


14, 1908, on his farm near Greenbriar Church, eleven miles south of 

Greenville. Alexander Y. Finley, of the Pond Creek country, is his only son. 

Thomas Monroe Finley was born June 17, 1835. He enlisted in 1862 

in Company D, Second Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate), at Allensville, 



Todd County, and served with that regiment until the close of the war, 
when he returned to his Long Creek farm, afterward removing to Green- 
ville, where he now lives. His wife was Nancy A., daughter of J. Jackson 
Robertson, who lived near the Buckner Stack. She died January 14, 1912. 
Mrs. Mollie C. (Charles M.) Shutt is their only child. 

Captain Jesse Knox J'reeman, sr., was born February 26, 1837, in 
Hancock County, where he spent his youth. In 1858 he married Kittie 

Ann Mason, of Breckinridge County, 
and shortly after removed to Bremen. 
He enlisted in the Eleventh Ken- 
tucky Infantry (Federal) on Septem- 
ber 28, 1861, and was elected first 
lieutenant of Company H. On April 
8, 1862, after the death of Captain 
Isaac W. Sketo at Shiloh, he became 
captain of the company. For a time 
he acted as aide-de-camp to General 
William Soule Smith, and at one time 
served as commander of the con- 
valescent camp of Union soldiers at 
Louisville ; he also acted as provost 
marshal of Bowling Green. He was 
mustered out of service with his regi- 
ment on December 18, 1864. Captain 
Freeman moved to Central City 
shortly after ^he place was founded, 
that town. He was postmaster of 
jr., is an attorney 


and has since been identified 

Central City from 1897 to 1905. His son J. K. Freeman, 

and at present the postmaster of Central City. 

William S. Grundy. For portrait see page 230. 

Judge S. P. Love, or, as he was more frequently called. Colonel S. P. 
Love, came to the county at the age of twenty-three, and after an active 
life here of more than half a century died in Greenville on March 26, 1903. 
No ]\Iuhlenberg man was more highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens than 
was Colonel Love. I quote in full from the Greenville Record : 

"Colonel Smoloff Pallas Love died at his home at 7.15 o'clock last 
Thursday morning, after an illness that confined him to his bed for 
several weeks. He was born May 10, 1826, in Lincoln County, and was 
reared in Garrard County. In 1846 he enlisted as a private in Captain 
Donovan's command, being mustered into service at ]Mexico, Missouri, 
from which point he marched to Mexico, participating in numerous engage- 
ments during the Mexican War and being discharged from the service 
after the battle of Buena Vista. He had been appointed second lieutenant, 
but was never commissioned. 

"In 1849 he came to this county, and on the 15th of July, 1850, was 
united in marriage by Rev. John N. Sharp to Miss Jane McConnell, 
daughter of John Henry McConnell of this county. He was commissioned 
lieutenant-colonel in the Eleventh Kentucky Regiment of the Federal 
army, under Colonel P. B. Hawkins, in August, 1861, and in May,' 1863, 



was made colonel of the regiment. lie was constantly with his command, 
and his bravery, fidelity and consideration for his men endeared every 
member strongly to him. He was in the engagements at Shiloh and Perry- 
ville and in all the skirmishes in pursuit of Bragg 's army when it retreated 
from Kentucky. He also participated in the siege of Knoxville, in the 
campaign under General Burnside in East Tennessee, and in all battles 
in which Sherman's army was engaged on the march from Ringgold to 
Atlanta. He was discharged at Bowling Green, December 16, 1864. 

"In 1866 Colonel Love moved with his family from South Carrollton 
to Greenville, and in the same year was elected judge of the county, which 
position he held for two terms. After the expiration of his official term 
he engaged in the practice of law, and was an active and successful 
advocate. For some years he had been a sufferer from a complication of 
diseases, and for the past few years had not been able to follow his pro- 

"Burial was in Evergreen Cemetery Friday afternoon with full military' 
honors, several hundred people being in attendance. Messrs. John A. 
Williams, W. C. Shannon, Nathan McClelland, D. E. Rhoads, John Coombs 
and Robert Casebier were pallbearers, and an escort of about forty men 
of his old command, and many other members of the G. A. R., aided in 
the ceremonies of last respect. 
Company F, Third Regiment 
Kentucky State Guard, under 
Captain R. C. McCracken, 
was in line and formed the 
firing squad, Bugler Clarence 
B. Hayes blowing taps that 
closed the service impres- 

"The widow survives, and 
the following children : Mrs. 
Dan ]Mosely, Depoy; John G. 
Love, Central City; Mrs. 
Edward L. Yonts and Mrs. 
Annie R. "White, of Green- 
ville; Mrs. H. F. Young, 
Louisville ; Mrs. George Gos- 
sett, Paducah; Mrs. J. W. 
Vomburg, Russellville ; Mrs. 
Henry Nunan, Gurdon, Ar- 
kansas ; Mrs. George A. Hille- 
bert, Lehigh, Indian Terri- 
tory. Their daughter Mrs. 
H. B. Barkis died in 1884, and 
theirsonLucienT.Loveinl896. s. p. love. i895 

Colonel Love united with the Presbyterian Church at this place in 1882. 
Rev. G. F. Bell conducted a short service at the home, in which he was 
assisted by Rev. T. C. Peters, of the Methodist Church." 



Wft fllHl 

HH^Ktaf-*" fl^S^^B 




The few reunions of the veterans of the ^Mexican War that have taken 
place in JMuhlenberg were proposed and conducted by Colonel Love, who 
probably took a more brotherly interest in the veterans of the Mexican 
and Civil wars than any other man in the county. He helped compile the 
history of the Eleventh Kentucky Infantry, published in "The Union 
Regmients of Kentucky" (1897). 


These three pictures, made during the Civil War, represent three influential native sons and 

lifelong citizens of the Bremen country, who belonged to Colonel Love's regiment 

Seven years after his death a poem written by Colonel Love was found 
among some of his personal papers. It was printed in the Greenville 
Record on July 14, 1910, by Orien L. Roark, who in his comment says : 
"His comrades in this county will recognize in this a personal appreciation 
of the soldier which was always manifest in their brave and true com- 
mander, who shared with the rank and file all the dangers and privations, 
and was first to give to the men the credit for the glories and fortunes 
of war." 

Had Colonel Love published this poem during his life he probably 
would have dedicated it not only to the local veterans of the Civil War, 
but also to the Muhlenberg men in the jMexiean War. 

By S. p. Love. 

Our ranks are growing thinner 

Every year, 
And death is still a winner 

Every year. 
Yet we still must stick together 
Like the toughest kind of leather, 
And in any kind of weather. 

Every year. 

SOME OP Muhlenberg's civil war soldiers 331 

Our comrades have departed 

Every year, 
And left us broken-hearted 

Every year, 
But their spirits fondly greet us 
And constantly entreat us 
To come, that they may meet us, 

Every year. 

Our steps are growing slower 

Every year, 
Pale death is still a mower 

Every year. 
Yet we faced him in the battle. 
Amid the muskets' rattle, 
And defied his final edict. 

Every year. 

We are growing old and lonely 

Every year. 
We have recollections only 

Every year. 
That we bled for this great nation 
On many a field and station 
And with any kind of ration 

Every year. 

Many people may forget us 

Every year, 
And our enemies may fret us 

Every year. 
But while onward we are drifting. 
Our souls with hope are lifting 
To heavenly scenes, still shifting, 

Every year. 

In the ]May-time of the flowers 

Every year. 
We shall live in golden hours 

Every year. 
And our deeds be sung in story 
Down the ages growing hoary— 
With a blaze of living glory 

Every year. 

Colonel Robert M. Martin. For portrait see page 319. 

Henry C. McCracken was born May 28, 1838, in Pulaski County, 
Tennessee, and emigrated to Muhlenberg in 1856. He enlisted in Com- 
pany K, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry (Federal), at Calhoun in 1861, and 
lost his right arm at the battle of Shiloh, April 7, 1862, shortly after 



which he was honorably discharged. In August, 1888, he was elected 
magistrate and served for two years. In 1896-97 he represented 

Muhlenberg in the Legis- 
lature. He was engaged 
in farming near Murphy's 
Lake until 1902, when he 
moved to Greenville. No 
man in the county has 
taken more interest in the 
local G. A. R. Post than 
Mr. I\IcCracken. In 1866 he 
married Laura E. Green, 
daughter of William J. 
Green. Among their chil- 
dren are Captain Richard 
C. McCracken, contractor, 
and A. Elmer McCracken, 
jeweler, of Greenville. 

Captain Isaac Miller 
was born in Tennessee in 
1810 and came to Muhlen- 
berg about 1832. He lived 
on a farm west of Bremen 
the greater part of his life, 
and died in South Carroll- 
ton in 1887. He was captain 
of Company F, Third Ken- 
HENRY c. MCCRACKEN, 1861 ^^^^^^ Cavalry (Federal), 

until he w^as wounded at Murfreesboro, 
when he resigned and was succeeded by 
Captain Elisha Baker, of Greenville. 
Captain Miller was for many years 
connected with the old militia musters. 
He married Bettie Crumbaker, daugh- 
ter of Jacob Crumbaker. Among 
their children were: William T. (who 
was jailer from 1897 to 1905) ; James, 
who was a member of Company F ; 
Alfred and Simon IMiller; Mrs. Nancy 
(William) Short, Llrs. Malty (Ander- 
son) Miller, Mrs. Mary (Wesley M. 
[son of N. B.]) Little, Mrs. Jennie 
(Jacob) Gish, and Mrs. Katie (Wm. 
G.) Whitmer — ]Mr. Whitmer also 
being a member of Company F. One 
of Captain Miller's brothers was 
James M., the father of John Simon Miller, who was jailer of the county 
from 1874 to 1882 and Greenville's postmaster from 1898 to 1912. 


SOME OF Muhlenberg's civil war soldiers 


Captain Joseph Mitchell was born in North Carolina, December 14, 
1809, and came to Muhlenberg from Tennessee in 1846. He served as a 
colonel at many of the old militia mus- 
ters. In the fall of 1863 he organized 
Company I, Forty-eighth Kentucky 
Mounted Infantry (Federal), of 
which he was made captain. He lived 
in the upper Pond Creek country and 
was one of the well-known farmers 
of the county. He died November 12, 
1863. Among his children are Mrs. 
W. T. McWhirter and Mrs. Saluda A. 
Pace, who was the second wife of 
Edward 0. Pace. Judge Richard 0. 
Pace is a son of Edward 0. and 
Saluda A. Pace. Isaac Mitchell, who 
was killed in the battle of Sacramento, 
was Captain Mitchell's brother. 

Joseph F. Richardson was born 
in Logan County in 1840 and died at 
his home in Central City on April 26, 
1912. He was buried in his Con- 


federate uniform in Elm- 
wood Cemetery, Owens- 
boro. At the breaking out 
of the war he enlisted in 
Company A, Ninth Ken- 
tucky Infantry ( Confed- 
erate), one of the regi- 
ments belonging to what 
was later known as the 
Orphan Brigade. He re- 
ceived a wound during the 
first day's battle at Shiloh 
which necessitated the im- 
mediate amputation of his 
left arm. He moved to 
Muhlenberg in 1864 and 
taught school for a number 
of years. In 1874 he was 
elected county superin- 
tendent of schools. In 1885 
he moved to Daviess Coun- 
ty, and seven years later 
returned to Central City. 
In 1900 he served as door- 
keeper of the State Senate. 




He represented IVIuhlenberg in the House of Representatives from 
January, 1910, to January, 1912. In January, 1912, he was chosen door- 
keeper of the House of Representatives. In 1871 he married Jennie H. 
Morgan. Mrs. S. A. Burns, of Daviess County, and Miss Lulu Richardson, 
of Central City, are daughters of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Richardson. "Uncle 
Joe," as he was called by his many friends, young and old, was a unique 
character, and one of the most highly respected men in the county. 

J. L. ROARK, 1863 

M. J. ROARK, 1863 

Lieutenant James Louis Roark, son of John R. Roark and grandson 
of pioneer William Roark, was born in :\luhlenberg County April 14, 1840, 
and died in Greenville on April 5, 1893. In 1861 he enlisted at Calhoun 
and was elected first lieutenant of Company K, Eleventh Kentucky 
Infantry (Federal), which office he held until his regiment was mustered 
out. On account of disabilities received in service he did not reenlist. He 
was in his day the best-known funeral director in the county. J. L. Roark 
married Jennie E. Morgan, daughter of Wm. K. Morgan. Their children 
are : Orien L., Cecil E., and Charles W. Roark of Greenville, and Doctor 
J. Louis Roark, now of Seattle, Washington. .,.--_^ 

Captain Martin Jepferson Roark, son of pioneer William Roark, was 
born in Muhlenberg County June 26, 1833, and diecT^in Greenville on 
October 22, 1908. He enlisted at Calhoun in 1861 and waselected captam 
of Company K, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry (Federal). He was severely 
wounded at Shiloh on April 7, 1862, and afterward was honorably dis- 
charged. Shortly after his return home he was made deputy provost 

SOME OF Muhlenberg's civil war soldiers 


marshal of Greenville. While a young man Captain Roark taught school 
in the county. In 1866-67 he represented Muhlenberg in the Legislature, 
after which he devoted his time to the practice of law and to the duties of the 
various county offices to which he was elected. Captain M. J. Roark and his 
wife Nannie W. (Davis) Roark were the parents of Professor R. N. Roark. 
Captain Washington Columbus Shannon was born in Wilson County, 
Tennessee, October 4, 1838, and moved 
to jMuhlenberg in 1854. On October 
1, 1861, he enlisted at Calhoun as a 
private in Company K, Eleventh Ken- 
tucky Infantry (Federal), and after 
the battle of Shiloh became first ser- 
geant of his company, which place he 
held until July, 1863, when he was 
commissioned first lieutenant and 
served in that capacity until Decem- 
ber, when upon the death of Captain 
C. H. ]\Iartin he succeeded to the cap- 
taincy. On December 16, 1864, his 
term of enlistment having expired, he 
was mustered out at Bowling Green. 
He immediately reentered the army 
and was commissioned captain of Com- 
pany K, Seventeenth Kentucky Caval- 
ry, and served until the close of the 
war, since which time he has lived in the 
Pond River country. Captain Shannon w. c. shannon, i864 

at various times has served the county 
as deputy assessor and deputy sheriff. 
Lieutenant Euclid E. C. Shull 
was born at Paradise, October 29, 
1842. He is a son of Peter Shull, jr., 
and a grandson of pioneer Peter 
Shull. On September 1, 1861, he 
enlisted in Company B, Twenty-sixth 
Kentucky U. S. V. I. He filled a 
number of regimental positions. On 
February 26, 1865, he became first 
lieutenant of Company G, U. S. 
Cavalry. He was mustered out of 
service September 28, 1865, since 
which time he has conducted the hotel 
in Paradise. During his more active 
years he was extensively engaged in 
farming. Few persons have visited 
Paradise within the past forty-five 
years without having had the pleasure 
E. E. 0. SHULL. 1862 of meeting Mr. and INIrs. Shull. 




William H. Smith was born near Paradise, September 30, 1841. 

He is a son of Leonard Smith and a grandson of pioneer Aaron Smith. 

He was a member of Company I, Eleventh Kentucky Infantry (Federal). 

His farm on Green River below 
Airdrie is one of the best preserved 
of the old farms in the county. Pew 
men living along Green River are 
better known than "Billy" Smith, as 
he is called by his many friends. One 
of his nearest neighbors was General 
Buell, under whom he had fought 
during the first part of the Civil War 
and after whom his youngest son, 
Don Carlos R., is named. Mrs. Alary 
E. Humphrey, one of the most pro- 
gressive women in the town of Para- 
dise, is one of his daughters. 

John h. G. Thompson was born 
in Clermont County, Ohio, August 15, 
1836, and removed to Muhlenberg in 
1858. While visiting in Illinois he 
enlisted in Company G, Second Illi- 
nois Cavalry (Federal). After the 

close of the Civil War he returned to his farm in INluhlenberg, and has ever 

since ranked among the best farmers in the county. His wife was Anna 

Woodburn, daughter of J. T. Woodburn, sr. 

R. W. Wallace was born near South CarroUton, October 5, 1829, 

and died at Paradise on July 13, 

1876. He was a son of Jared and 

Polly (Bearing) Wallace. His grand- 
fathers, Coulston Wallace and Bayless 

Bearing, came to Muhlenberg about 

1808. He was a Confederate soldier 

- — a member of Company C, Ninth 

Kentucky Infantry. Although a 

cripple, he took part in a number of 

battles. He had a store in Paradise, 

and at the time of his death was one 

of the leading merchants in the town. 

In 1866 he married Mary E. Kirtley, 

daughter of Elias V. Kirtley. R. W. 

Wallace and wife were the parents 

of Mrs. Gertrude W. (J. B.) Hocker 

of Owensboro, and R. E., J. E., and 

H. A. Wallace, well-known Muhlen- 
berg merchants. 


SOME OF Muhlenberg's civil war soldiers 


R. T. Vincent. For portrait see page 330. 

Colonel E. R. Weir. For portrait see page 61. 

John K. Wicklipfe. For portrait see page 256. 

J. L. WiLKiNS. For portrait see page 330. 

Lieutenant Joseph Davis Yonts was born near Paradise, October 
25, 1841, and died in Greenville June 9, 1896. When the Eleventh 
Kentucky Infantry (Federal) was organizing he enlisted as a private in 
Company H, and after the battle of Shiloh became first lieutenant. 
Although he was wounded a number of times, he remained with his com- 
pany until the close of the war. Im- 

mediately after the war he removed 
to Greenville, and for more than 
thirty years took an active interest 
in the business affairs of the town. 
In 1865 he became a clerk in the 
store of Edward R. Weir, sr., and 
continued in that work until the 
Greenville Grange Store was organ- 
ized. He and Joseph G. Ellison 
managed this cooperative store during 
the few years of its existence. In the 


R. W. WALLACE, 1865 

latter part of the seventies he and 
his brother, Edward L. Yonts, began 
rehandling tobacco in Greenville, and 
continued in that business until 1880, 
when they opened a drug store on 
the northeast corner of Main and 
Main Cross streets. A few years 
later he bought his brother's interest 
in this store, and remained in the 
drug business until the time of his 
death. Joseph D. Yonts was a son 
of Philip Yonts and his wife Adaline 
Davis Yonts. In 1872 he married 
Delia L. Kingsley, daughter of 
Edward Kingsley of Rochester and 
his wife ^Mary Susan ^Myers, daughter 
of David jMyers of Myers' Chapel, 
Their only son is ^Morton K. Yonts, 
now of the Louisville bar. 



A PEW slaves were probably brought by the first of the early settlers 
into what later became IMuhlenberg County. Tradition has it 
that Colonel William Campbell, the founder of Caney Station 
and Greenville, brought slaves with him. A number of the other 
first-comers evidently brought slaves with them. There were very few, 
however, in what was called the "Dutch Settlement." 

In 1800 there were 1,313 white inhabitants, five free negroes, and 125 
slaves in Muhlenberg. By 1810 the white population had increased to 
3,698 and there were 480 slaves. From that date to 1850 there was an 
increase in the proportion of slaves. In 1860 the population of the county 
was 9,101 white, 40 free colored, and 1,584 slaves. In 1910 the white 
population was 25,687 and the colored 2,911.^ 

In slavery days many persons who did not Mant to own negroes, or 
who did not approve of slavery, found themselves slaveholders. The slaves 
were acquired by inheritance or in the course of some business transaction 
as a necessity. It was not easy to dispose of a slave once owned, except 
by selling him as one would a horse or a cow. 

Many stories might be told of the affectionate relations and personal 
devotion that sprang up between master and family and slave. It was 
not uncommon for masters who "hired out" slaves by the year, or were 
compelled to sell them, to consult the slave's choice of employer or new 
master. The "hiring out" and sale of slaves generally took place at 
New Year at Greenville, where there was a general assembling of those 
wanting to hire or buy, and a regular market opened. Administrators 
of estates would sometimes sell from one to a whole family of negroes to 
the highest bidder, at the courthouse door. Selling prices would range 
from $200 to $1,500. Hiring prices were from $50 to $200, according to 
the slave's worth. Richard T. Martin says: "In case of sale, as well as 
of hire, mothers would often be separated from their children. Most of 
the slaves seemed to be submissive to their fate and apparently enjoyed 
life as well as they do now with liberty. They were of course ignorant, 
without any training in self-reliance or self-protection. They did not 
then have much on their minds, only to do as they were told." 

' The slave population in Muhlenberg was never proportionately large, ranging 
from one in five to one in seven of the whole population. The proportion in the 
State was about one slave to every five of population. The negro population of 
Muhlenberg and of Kentucky at present comprises about one eighth of the whole. 
In 1860 Muhlenberg's proportion was at the rate of one slave to every seven of 
population. See table of population of the county in chapter "Collins on Muhlen- 
berg, Quoted and Extended," page 422. 



The consideration that masters would show trusted slaves, and the 
affectionate feelings existing, have been verified from the recollections of 
a number of old former slaves still living in the county. All of them say 
they had a longing to remain in their first home or in the neighborhood 
where they had spent most of their lives. Local traditions contain many 
instances of the slave's love for his old home. An incident in the life 
of John Gates, one of the "old-time" negroes, will serve as an example. 

' ' Uncle John, ' ' as he is called, still lives near the Wyatt Gates Gld Place 
in the Pond River country, where he was born about 1845 and where, 
as he expressed it, he hopes to die "among his white folks." John's 
father belonged to pioneer Jesse Gates, and John in turn belonged to 
Wyatt Gates, one of the sons of Jesse. During the autumn of 1862 John, 
then a boy of about eighteen, while working near his master's blacksmith 
shop, was kidnaped by a band of guerrillas, who at the same time stole 
two horses belonging to Wyatt Gates. The young negro traveled with his 
captors through Hopkins, Christian, and Todd counties, and although not 
treated as a prisoner he was anxious to return home, and therefore took 
advantage of the first good chance that presented itself and made his 
escape. He left the guerrilla camp, then near Elkton, and although he 
avoided the public roads, succeeded in finding his way through the woods 
and over fields to what is now Gary's Bridge, where he entered jMuhlenberg 
County. There he began traveling on the main road, for he was known in 
that neighborhood and felt safe 
from pursuers. He had not 
proceeded far when he ar- 
rived at the farm of a man who 
was well acquainted with his 
master. The owner of the place 
seemed glad to see him, and 
urged him to eat supper and 
stay all night. He accepted 
the invitation, and his friendly 
host informed him that Wyatt 
Gates was offering fifteen dol- 
lars reward for the return of 
his "lost, strayed or stolen 
John." The farmer proposed to 
lodge John that night and to 
return him to his master the 
next morning, receive the re- 
ward, and pay the slave five dol- 
lars of the proceeds. To this the 
slave replied that he thought his 
involuntary absence was in it- 
self a loss to his master, and that "uncle- • john dates. 1912 
under the circumstances no one was entitled to a reward. After he had 
been assigned a bed, and after all others had retired for the night, John 
quietly resumed his walk home, where upon his arrival he was received 


like a long-lost son by his master, who not only paid him the fifteen dollars 
reward but granted him two weeks' "lay-off" after hearing his story. 

Notwithstanding the kindness shown, the slaves, after all, were held 
in ownership much as highly prized domestic animals are, and were treated 
in everything, except as regarded their work, as children requiring strict 
discipline and sometimes sharp punishment. They had no civil or 
educational rights or privileges. Slave-owners generally frowned upon 
the few who permitted slaves to be taught reading and writing, as the 
awakening of higher intelligence tended to arouse the slave's discontent 
with his condition and to give him longings for freedom. There was little 
or no attempt made to educate or Christianize the slave. He was left to 
his own devices, and even his morals — except as to personal honesty and 
conduct toward the whites — were disregarded. Slaves could not marry 
according to law. They cohabited by consent of their owners or according 
to their own choice, though many slave unions were as sacredly maintained 
as those of the white people. 

Religion among them was a rude imitation of the worship of the whites. 
They were permitted to hold church meetings in schoolhouses and in white 
churches temporarily unoccupied. ''Copper John," as he was called, who 
belonged to Edward R. Weir, Sam Elliott, owned by Edward Elliott, Peter 
McCormiek, and Wilson Weir were the leading slave preachers for many 
years. They were men of some intelligence, and would preach in various 
parts of the county. 

Slaves were housed usually in log cabins erected near the owner's 
residence. Edward R. Weir, sr., provided good brick, one-story houses for 
those he owned. The last of these brick slave cabins has disappeared, and 
only a few of the log huts are left standing in the county. 

No slave could give testimony in court against a white man, and he was 
therefore without defense against brutal treatment of any kind unless it 
occurred in the presence of white witnesses. Any slave convicted of 
murder, attempt to murder, or of assault on a white woman was after trial 
in the circuit court sentenced to death, and a valuation placed on him by 
those before whom he was tried. The owner of the slave, upon presenta- 
tion of the sheriff's certificate showing the date of execution and the 
appraised value, received from the State Treasurer the amount specified. 
The first legal hanging in the county was of a slave named Isaac, who was 
convicted of an attempt to murder Aylette H. Buckner, and, as related 
in the chapter on the "Story of the Stack," was valued at $1,000 and 
hanged July 6, 1838. The second legal execution was that of a slave known 
as jMitchell ^Martin, or Bogges, who was hanged April 26, 1850, and valued 
at $700. The third was a slave called Edmond Reno, or Edmond Elliott, 
who was hanged June 17, 1853, and his master, Jesse H. Reno, received 
$800 as compensation. All of these but Isaac were convicted of criminal 

Out of the slave's helplessness before the law there sprang up among 
many of them a unity of feeling almost Masonic, against cruel and harsh 
masters. Such masters were feared and hated, and among slave cabins, 
and even in the kitchen of the "big house," as the owner's residence was 



called, slave and white children alike were held in discipline and fear by 
stories of "ghost hauntings" of cruel slaveholders. The feeling extended 
to white men who were merely rigid disciplinarians, not sparing of the 
lash when they thought its use necessary. The ghost-stories were of course 
pure imaginings. One story that has long been heard of a haunted house 
near an old muster field evidently grew out of a substitution of identities, 
since the owner of the house was a liberal and kind-hearted man who, 
I found after careful investigation, always treated his slaves well. Never- 
theless the story is told that he had caused two of his slaves to be buried 


Near Powderly 

near the milk-house in order to keep other slaves from entering and help- 
ing themselves to its contents. This tale is as improbable as the one that 
relates how, on a certain occasion, the same owner, wishing to punish a 
slave, took a barrel, drove two-inch nails from the outside through the one- 
inch staves, placed the negro in this barrel, and rolled it down the hill to 
the spring near the milk-house. The story is that the negro died from the 
etfects of the treatment, and of course the place has been "ha'nted" ever 

About twenty years before the beginning of the Civil War the mutter- 
ings of the movement for national emancipation of slaves began and rapidly 
grew louder. The idea had many followers in Muhlenberg and other parts 
of Kentucky. In 1845 Cassius M. Clay established an antislavery paper 
at Lexington, and by his fiery personality, eloquence, and fearlessness made 


many converts and induced many who already believed in emancipation by 
some gradual and businesslike method to take a bold stand publicly. By 
1850 antislavery opinion had spread widely in the State and was openly 
discussed in Muhlenberg. In his diary, under date of June, 1849, the 
Keverend Isaac Bard records that at Colonel Wilson's home, near South 
Carrollton, "we debated emancipation. My great surprise is how any true 
Whig or true Democrat can oppose it. . . . They say if Kentucky should 
emancipate her slaves we would be ruined. Bob Wickliffe said, 'The 
darkies are the best shade I have ever seen. ' . . . But I think some more 
sunshine would be better for health and a cure for empty corn-cribs and 
barns as well as a good cure for ignorant, idle and dissipated youth." Mr. 
Bard was traveling much of the time and was in close touch with public 

In Muhlenberg among prominent men who advocated emancipation 
were Edward R. Weir, sr., William. L. Green, Edward Elliott, and Thomas 
Salsbury. ^ The latter died in 1848, and his will, dated May 30, 1844, pro- 
vided for the immediate liberation, after the death of his wife, of all his 
slaves who had then reached the age of twenty-five, and for the later 

^ Robert Wickliffe, here referred to by Mr. Bard, was a son of pioneer Robert 
Wickliffe, and like his father was a slaveholder. He, like a number of slave- 
holders in the county, became an abolitionist about ten years before the Civil War. 

Robert Wickliffe's will (that part dealing with his slaves) is here quoted as 
throwing light on the slavery question at the time. It was written in 1850 and 
recorded in 1855, in Will Book 3, page 153: 

"Section Two: I will and direct, that after the death of my wife that all of 
my property (Negroes excepted) be sold, including my land, the proceeds to be 
applied as hereinafter directed. 

"Section Three: I wish to provide for the comfort and happiness of my slaves,, 
and wish the money arising from the sale of my other property as mentioned 
in section two applied for their benefit. I wish to colonize them, should the newly 
established Republic of Liberia continue to flourish. I desire that they may 
be removed to that country and the money raised from sale of property as before 
directed applied to their outfit and settlement in that country. I hereby will 
and direct that at the death of myself and wife all the slaves now owned by me 
and their increase shall be free and enjoy all the rights and privileges of free 
persons, but believing that they can do this but imperfectly in Kentucky I wish 
them removed to some country where they will be more advantageously situated, 
and for the purpose of providing for this and for their comfortable establishment, 
do will and bequeath to them the proceeds of all my other property remaining 
after the death of myself and wife for the purposes aforesaid. 

"Section Four: As it is likely that some important changes will be made in 
the organic law of our State by which negroes can not be emancipated and remain 
in the State, I hereby invest my executors with full and complete power to make 
such arrangements in regard to the future location of my slaves as may to them 
seem best, all circumstances considered, vesting them with power to send them 
to Liberia or colonize them in some other State as may be deemed most for their 
interest, retaining such control over said slaves as may be necessary to carry 
out the provisions of this section." 

His wife, Aggy Wickliffe, in September, 1862, made her will bequeathing all' 
her property "to and for the use of the slaves emancipated by the will of my 
deceased husband." Her will is recorded June 13, 1867, Book 3, page 230. 

3 Mrs. Salsbury (who was a daughter of John Dennis) died January 16, 1860, 
and the Salsbury tract of land, three miles southeast of Greenville, was divided 
among the freed negroes and the to-be-freed slaves. In 1910 only one family of 
Salsbury negroes lived in the "Salsbury Free Negro Settlement." The others, 
one after another, sold their farms to white men, and few, if any, ever owned a 
farm afterward. It may be well to add that Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Salsbury had no. 
children, nor did Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wickliffe. 


liberation of the others when they too had reached that age. Weir, 
Green, and Elliott M^ere so convinced of their duty that they liberated all 
their slaves that were willing to accept freedom. They sent a few of them 
to the new Republic of Liberia in Africa, defraying their expenses, and 
then Green and Elliott removed to "free" States. 

As early as about 1850 there began to arise fears of a "negro rising" 
or "slave insurrection" in many parts of the country, even in Muhlenberg. 
These rumors served to alarm many quiet persons and to frighten children, 
but there was never any "rising." Close watch was maintained and 
slaves were kept within rigid bounds. Runaway slaves would come into 
Muhlenberg from the South and from other counties in the State, but they 
were soon captured or driven from the county. In Greenville and all the 
towns in the county "patrollers" were paid to watch the conduct of slaves. 
Negroes were not allowed to stir out after nine o'clock at night. If caught 
abroad after that hour without passes from their owners they were severely 
whipped and driven in. The negroes living in the country did not go out 
much after nightfall except for "possum" and "coon" hunting, with the 
knowledge of their owners. 

About this time a sort of temperance "order" had been established 
among the negroes. It had its start in Greenville. There were two bodies, 
apparently rival organizations. One was known as the " Washingtoniaus, " 
headed by "Copper John" Weir; the other, known as the "Socodonians," 
was led by Sam Elliott. These orders appeared throughout the county. 
jMembers of both would meet at Greenville on Sundays and march, making 
considerable display. When the "abolition" movement had grown acute, 
however, the whites put a stop to the marchings, and the "orders" 
vanished. It was feared that they covered some secret understanding 
concerning freedom. 

Suspicion and distrust between master and slave grew greater as a 
general proposition, although that fact did not disturb the confidence be- 
tween some slaves and their masters. The Civil War put an end to all 
doubts and to the institution of slavery. There were many negroes in 
Muhlenberg who did not welcome freedom, and who were uneasy after 
it was conferred upon them. They had suffered like children, but they had 
had no sense of responsibility for their own maintenance. Some of the 
more intelligent had believed that some day they would be liberated, but 
they were not prepared when liberation came. A great many of the slaves 
never had to be punished while in slavery, but were obedient and kind- 
hearted and were treated well by their owners, some of whom often trusted 
particular slaves wdth important affairs. 

It is paradoxical perhaps to say that many persons, former slaves as 
well as slave-owners, regretted the passing of the old days. As they got 
further and further away from slavery only its best and most sentimental 
sides were remembered. In the old days slaves were generally allowed a 
few holidays during Christmas week and at election days, which came on 
the first Monday in August in each year. Election days were always a 
feast for w^hite boys and negroes. Slave-owners would allow their negroes, 
if they desired, to make cider and bake "ginger-cakes" on Saturday or 


Sunday before the election on iMonday, from the sale of which they would 
make a little pocket-money. Greenville would be full of boys and 
negroes, ginger-cakes and cider; fiddling and dancing on the streets would 
be an attraction of the occasion. Negroes were not allowed to drink or 
quarrel or to fight; if they did they were severely whipped. Negroes on 
election day kept more civil and sober than some of their masters. Some- 
times a sober slave would have to care for his drunken master and take 
him home. These conditions and others connected with the intimate home 
relations between master and slave before the Civil War were of course 
entirely changed by the emancipation of the negroes. 


IT is likely that some of ^Muhlenberg's first-comers, and certainly some 
of the generation that followed them, occasionally wrote sketches ; per- 
haps some expressed themselves in poetry — or, at least, in the form of 
verse. As far as I am aware, less than a half-dozen unpublished 
manuscripts and published pamphlets and sketches written by IMuhlen- 
berg men previous to 1850 have been preserved. Very little of what ap- 
peared in print between 1850 and 1870 can now be found. Up to 1870 no 
newspapers were printed in the county, and therefore comparatively few 
of the citizens who may have written prose or poetry previous to that time 
had opportunity to publish it. The files of the various local newspapers 
issued from 1870 to 1899 have been destroyed, and with them all the local 
literature they contained. 

Pioneer James Weir was not only the first ^Muhlenberg man to write 
verses, but he also stands as the first and only local pioneer by whom 
sketches were written that are still preserved. His account of his trip, 
written shortly after his return from New Orleans in 1803, is given in full 
in Appendix B. His two sons — Edward R. Weir, sr., the author of a 
number of sketches published about the year 1840, and James Weir, who 
in 1850 published "Lonz Powers" — were men of literary ability. Their 
books and magazine stories are now out of circulation, and are reviewed 
or referred to elsewhere in this volume, ^lax Weir, a grandson of pioneer 
James Weir, was the author of "From the Father's Country," a pamphlet 
of a religious nature, published in 1904 and still preserved by many of his 
friends. Another grandson, Doctor James Weir, of Owensboro, has written 
several books of curious interest to medical and other professional students. 

Stembridge's "The Western Speller" appeared in 1854, This book 
was compiled by John A. Stembridge, who was born in Muhlenberg in 1813 
and died in Greenville in 1872. He was the only son of William Stem- 
bridge. His wife was a daughter of Larkin N. Akers. Their son, William 
junior, died in early manhood. Their two daughters removed to Evans 
ville, Indiana, about 1875, and were connected with the public schools of 
that city for more than thirty years. John A. Stembridge, like his father, 
was a schoolteacher. 

"The Western Speller" was written in Greenville in 1852 and published 
in 1854 by J. W. Boswell, of Hebardsville, Henderson County. The print- 
ing was done by Hull & Brothers and the binding by Hull Brothers & Caril, 
of Louisville. The "Preface" and "Recommendations" are here quoted 
in full: 



We live in an age of improvement, and as there have been improve- 
ments made on ahnost all theories, the author of this work thought that 
there could be an improvement made on the Spelling Books that are 
published by various authors. He had two reasons for writing this Book. 
The first reason, he saw some defects in all the various spellers. The most 
important reason was his ill health — not being able, for the last three years 
and a half, to labor. He came to the conclusion to write a Spelling Book 
on a new plan, which he has done, hoping that a generous public would 
examine it, and give his book the preference, as he knows of no other 
tribunal that would judge more correctly. With these remarks he submits 
it to the same. 

Greenville, Ky., August, 1852. The Author. 


We have examined the spelling book compiled by Mr. John A. Stem- 
bridge, and consider it a valuable book. It contains a great variety of the 
most useful words, disposed in such order as will much facilitate the 
learner's progress in spelling and pronunciation. A large number of 
proper and Geographical names are appended. We think it an elementary 
book worthy of the attention of parents and Teachers. 

Greenville, Ky., August, 1852. 

Rev. John Donaldson, Principal Greenville Presbyterial Academy, Ky. 

S. P. Love, Teacher Common Schools, Greenville, Ky. 

B. E. Pittman, Common School Commissioner, Greenville, Ky. 

Chas. F. Wing, Clerk Muhlenberg Circuit Court. 

Wm. H. C. Wing, Clerk County Court. 

A. C. DeWitt, Sec. Louisville Annual Con. M. E. C. South. 

W. H. Yost. 

Jonathan Short. 

Joseph Ricketts. 

Jesse H. Reno, P. J. 

Edward Rumsey. 

J. F. Kimbley, M. D. 

All admit that Noah Webster has had to do with the foundation and 
elementary principles of the English Language, by his famed Spelling 
Book. And as improvements have been made on the theories of Newton, 
Galileo, Franklin, and Sir Humphry Davy, it is no disparagement to Dr. 
Webster, to saj^, we think an improvement has been made on his Book, by 
an humble but intelligent citizen of Muhlenberg County, Ky. The main 
important trait that distinguishes the work, as it appears to us, is its classi- 
fication of words. Proper Names in Scripture, Geographical Names, and 
lastly a happy combination of words of our language, all so neatly and 
perspicuously arranged as to facilitate the young learner. Well done for 
Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. 

Isaac Bard, Pastor Mt. Pleasant Church and 
Agent of Muhlenberg Presbytery. 

I concur in the above recommendation of said book. 

Rev. C. C. Boswell, of the C. P. Church, Pastor 
of Pleasant Hill Congregation. 


This speller is a neatly bound book of 154 pages and contains about 
fifteen thousand words, classified in a convenient and original manner. 
Common words are arranged according to the number of syllables and the 
place of the accented syllable. Names of rivers, towns, mountains, etc., are 
given by continents or States, and are so placed that they, in a way, serve 
as lessons in geography. For example, under the three columns headed 
' ' States, " " Capitals, ' ' and ' ' People ' ' are * ' Tennessee, Nashville, Tennessee- 
ans, " " Peru, Lima, Peruvians. ' ' Among the various other divisions appear 
many Biblical names, the names of the Presidents up to that date, and an 
"Alphabetical Vocabulary" in which he defines about one thousand words. 

Although "The Western Speller" was regarded as "superior to any 
other now in use, ' ' as stated on the title-page, it was never widely known. It 
was used more or less extensively in Muhlenberg and adjoining counties 
from the time it was published up to about 1860, when its use was 
abandoned and Webster's American Spelling Book, better known as the 
"Old Blue-backed Speller," was again adopted in all the local schools. 
But two copies of Stembridge's book are now extant, so far as I have been 
able to ascertain. 

It is probable that during the third quarter of the last century Buxton 
Harris wrote more for publication than any other one man in the county. 
He came to Muhlenberg in 1848. It is said that he was a good public 
speaker, that many of his poems and stories were printed in some of the 
then widely known newspapers and magazines, and that copies of his 
published works were preserved by him ; all of them were destroyed thirteen 
years after his death, when his residence was burned to the ground. And 
now, after a lapse of less than fifty years, no one can recall the titles of 
more than two of his stories — "The Buried Trunk," and "Emma Legure, 
or the Lost Child. ' ' 

Buxton Harris was born in Virginia in 1807, and at the age of forty- 
one he and his family moved from Tennessee to Muhlenberg County. He 
bought the Luckett farm (now the town of Powderly) and continued to 
live on it up to the time of his death, December 29, 1874. Before the 
emancipation of his slaves he was considered one of the wealthiest men 
in the county. Of his twelve children Bennett Harris, of Central City, 
and N. J. Harris, of Wichita, Kansas, are the only two now living. 

In 1898 Professor William J. Johnson, then residing at Wells, published 
his "History of Hazel Creek Baptist Church," a pamphlet of 70 pages. It 
is the only history of a Muhlenberg church ever printed, and furthermore 
is the only pamphlet ever written that bears directly on the history of the 

Professor Ruric Nevel Roark, son of Captain M. J. Roark, wrote three 
books on pedagogy — -"Psychology in Education," "Method in Education," 
and "Economy in Education." These books were published in 1903, 1904, 
and 1905 by the American Book Company, and are considered standard 
works, not only in Kentucky but in other States and in some foreign 

No man in Kentucky was better known or more highly esteemed in 
educational circles than was Professor Roark. He contributed to many 



of the educational journals, and had a national reputation as a lecturer on 
educational subjects. He started the movement that resulted in the 
organizing of the Southern Educational Association. E. Polk Johnson, in 
his "History of Kentucky and Kentuckians, " says: "Dr. Ruric N. Roark, 
the first president of the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and a 

great educational leader, who took a 
pioneer interest in the establishment 
of State normal schools, . . . died 
while in the harness, and while fighting 
for the children of Kentucky." 

Professor Roark was born in Green- 
ville, May 19, 1859, and after finishing 
a course of study in the Greenville 
Academy attended the National Normal 
University in Ohio, from which institu- 
tion he was graduated in 1881. He was 
president of the Glasgow Normal School 
for three years, and from 1889 to 190-1 
served as dean of the department of 
pedagogy in the Kentucky State College. 
He was president of the Eastern Ken- 
tucky State Normal School at Richmond 
when, on April 14, 1909, he died after 
an illness of only a few weeks. He is 
buried at Richmond. 

Among other pamphlets by ]\Iuhlen- 
berg citizens are "Doctrines of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,'' 
by Reverend J. E. Martin (son of David H. Martin) (1882) ; "A Treatise 
on Monometallism and Bimetallism," by Nicholas Royster (1898); "The 
World Lies Before Us," "The World Lies Behind Us," and "Down on 
Devil's Creek," bv Theodore W. Whitmer (1899) ; "Sundry Sketches and 
Paragraphs," by J. R. Parker (1899) ; "The New Birth," by J. W. York 
(1902) ; "Outline of United States History," by Professor C. C. Hayden 
(1910) ; "Lost and Found, and Other Sketches," by Elsie J. James (1912). 
To this list may be added Edward Rurnsey's speech on the invention of the 
steamboat, delivered before Congress in 1839 and published shortly after- 
ward in pamphlet form, and also a number of booklets on medical subjects 
written during the past fifteen years by Doctor James Osborne DeCourcy, 
of St. Louis, who until a few years ago lived near Rosewood, where he was 

In 1912 "Nisi Prius," an admirable collection of connected sketches, 
was published by J. Caldwell Browder, of Russellville. This book, although 
not by a Muhlenberg man, is here referred to because the scenes in the story 
are laid in Greenville and other parts of IMuhlenberg County, or, as the 
author designates them, "Greenwood" and "llecklenburg County." It is 
a story based on the happenings in a term of circuit court at Greenville 
in what the lawyers call "proceedings at nisi prius," hence the title. 




All the poems by local writers tliat have been published and are still 
preserved were written within the past twenty-five years. Most of them 
were written since 1900. "Thou and I," by General Buell, appears in the 
chapter on the "Paradise Country and Old Airdrie"; "The Old Soldiers," 
by Judge Love, is given in the chapter on "Some of Muhlenberg's Civil 
War Soldiers," "God's Plow of Sorrow" appears in the chapter on 
Charles Eaves, and "The Cypress Trees" by Harry M. Dean is reprinted 
in ' ' Collins Quoted and Extended. ' ' Mrs. Lou J. Mitchell and Clarence B. 
Hayes are each represented in Muhlenberg's published literature by a 
pamphlet of poems. These two writers were well known locally. Neither 
was born in the county, but both of them lived and died in Muhlenberg. 

Mrs. Lou J. Mitchell was born in Logan County, June 24, 1852, and 
died near Friendship on April 24, 1910. Before her marriage to John W. 
Mitchell, of Muhlenberg, she taught school near Russellville. Shortly 
after she was married she became totally blind. About twenty years ago 
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell moved to a farm in the Friendship neighborhood. 
After Mrs. Mitchell lost her eyesight she occupied much of her time 
writing verses. In 1892 twenty-four of these were published in a pamphlet 
entitled, "A Selection of Poems from the works of Mrs. Lou J. Mitchell, 
the Blind Poetess. ' ' Some of her verses describe the consolation she found in 
religion; others are optimistic reflections of one dwelling "in shadow-land." 

Clarence B. Hayes — better known as "Peck" Hayes — was born in 
Hodgenville, Kentucky, July 23, 1878. In 1894 he moved to Muhlenberg 
with his father, J. H. Hayes. While 
serving as chief bugler under 
General F. D. Grant in the 
Spanish-American War he con- 
tracted tuberculosis, of which he 
died at his home in Greenville on 
February 10, 1908. He was a 
promising young man and a good 
musician. He wrote the words and 
music of a number of songs, among 
them "Mammy's Lullaby," which 
he dedicated to John G. Barkley, 
sr., and published in 1906. In 
March, 1908, Orien L. Roark, of 
the Greenville Record, issued 
"Some Verses by Clarence B. 
Hayes." This pamphlet contains 

fifteen of his poems. Had he lived longer he might have achieved wide 
fame as a dialect poet. 

Among IMuhlenbergers who have in recent years contributed more or 
less to the local papers are Miss Amy ]\L Longest, of Powderly; Richard T. 
Martin and Harry M. Dean, of Greenville ; John B. Kittinger, of Central 
City, and William H. Hoskinson, of Gus. Much of that which Mr. Martin 
has written is reprinted in this volume. Miss Longest is a student^ of 
good literature and local history, and is deeply interested in improving 



educational conditions in the county. She has published only a few poems 
and sketches in the local and metropolitan papers, but these few foretell 
a brilliant literary career. Harry M. Dean, although still a young man, 
is the most versatile writer IMuhlenberg has ever produced. A number 
of his poems, stories, and sketches have appeared in some of the best- 
known papers in the country. Since the death of Clarence B. Hayes, 
Mr. Dean has been looked upon as the poet-laureate of Muhlenberg. 

A "last week's paper," like a "last year's almanac," having served 
its purpose, is put to other uses or relegated to the waste-basket and soon 
disappears. Occasionally a copy is laid away with great care by a reader 
who for the sake of some specific article it contains, fully intends to pre- 


■\ OL 1 ^0 1 (,1,1 INMIIl^'fMS)-, 1 

■ It I >cVo dinj ^«^-" »^ *«• 

U. B-*« «.j*.^j^ «»«•-». »*!«* ««sSirt<WUM™— j^i.7M,B ^%^ '^■»»^ 

(Reduced Facsimile) 

serve it. It is a well-known fact, however, that very few of such copies 
are preserved longer than a year or two. The same may also be said of 
clippings from papers. Although clippings are usually preserved longer 
than the entire copy of a paper, they are as a rule not marked to show 
when and where they were published, and as a consequence the information 
they contain does not fully serve its purpose. Unfortunately, like many 
of the old books and pamphlets that should have been preserved, many of 
the newspapers and clippings now being "preserved" seem destined to 
disappear sooner or later. 

About twenty different newspapers have been printed in the county 
since 1870. Most of them lived only a few years. The Greenville Record, 
now in its fifteenth year, has existed longer by far than any other paper 
previously printed in Muhlenberg. Central City's Twice-a-Week Argus, 
formerly the Muhlenberg Argus, dates back seven years. Notwithstanding 
there were probably as many as several million copies of these various 
local papers printed and read, it is doubtful whether a hundred copies 
of the discontinued publications could now be found. Nevertheless each 
newspaper, in its day, had its influence on the people of the county. All 
of the IMuhlenberg papers, regardless of their time or extent of circula- 
tion, are still remembered — some by one man, some by another. 

The Kentucky Republican was the first paper published in the county. 
It was a weekly, established by W. L. Anthony and printed in Greenville. 
The first copy was issued ]\Iarch 16, 1870. Anthony was succeeded by 






Wednesday, M.ircli 16, 1870. 

Adverfisinji Kate^. 

M. D. Hay, who printed a paper whicli, although styled "The Independent," 
was a Democratic sheet. The Independent was succeeded by the Gazette, 
a Democratic weekly conducted by John 'Flaherty. The Muhlenberg 
Echo was founded about 1876, and up to October, 1881, was edited by 
Urey Woodson, now editor of the Owensboro Messenger, and who is one 
of the best-known politicians in the country. Woodson was followed by 
C. W. Short, and he in turn by William H. Eaves, R. Y. Thomas, jr., Hayden 
C. Snoddy, and Orien L. , 

Roark. The Muhlenberg : 
Echo was succeeded by 
The Muhlenberger, a. 
Democratic paper con- 
ducted first by T. J. 
Coates and later by 
Card well and Martin. 
The Muhlenberger was 
followed by another 
Democratic weekly, the 
Greenville Banner, un- 
der W. L. Phillips. In 
1899 the Greenville Rec- 
ord, an independent 
paper, was started by 
Orien L. Roark, who is 
still at the head of the 
publication. Mr. Roark 
has served as an editor 
longer than any other 
man in the county. Dur- 
ing the earlier days of 
the Greenville Record, 
William Sweeney pub- 
lished an independent 
paper called the Tribune, 
and D. J. Fleming an- 
other, also independent, 
known as- the Muhlen- 
berg Herald. The last 
paper founded in Green- 
ville was the ]\Iuhlenberg 
Sentinel, a Republican 
organ, established by R. 
0. Pace in April, 1910, 
and now edited by E. E. 

The first newspaper 
published in Central 

1 square, . . 

2 squares. , 
^4 column. 
3 J column. 
1 coiuniu . . 

.f 1 no 

2 50 

5 00 

8 00 

12 00 

if 3 





$ 8- 



$ 12 





ISubseription Rate^. 

Single copy, one year $2.30 

Clubs of ten, per copy ■ 2.00 

Clubs of twenty, ix?r copy 1.75 

To any one .ceniling us a club of ten 
KUbseribers for one year, we ^\i]l forward 
one extra copy ; with a club of twenty, two 
extra copies, 

1^"" The subscription price must invaria- 
bly accomi>any the names. 



In prt'senting to the public this, the 
first number of the Kkpublican', and 
linking cm- destiny in newspaperdom 
with our brethren of the press, we 
conform to the old established, time- 
honored custom of introducing ourself 
editorially to our readers. 

:_ _ - - !• 

tive t 
the ■^ 
may i 

or pr; 

we fil 
ing ii 


for o 
of th< 
an 61 
ing d 
on 01 

the ; 

Facsimile of editorial title, Muhlenberg's first newspaper 

City was the Argus, founded by R. Y. Thomas, jr., in 1881. During the 


same year T. Coleman duPont bought this plant and established the 
Central City Republican, which continued until 1909. Its last three 
editors were John Lawton, Z. 0. King, and E. E. Reno. In 1889 the 
Central City Herald was established by R. Y. Thomas, jr., and after 
changing hands a number of times was discontinued about 1894. During 
1895 E. E. Reno and W. R. Barrett published the Central City Sun. In 
1900 E. E. Reno and Doctor M. P. Creel began the Muhlenberg News, 
which paper w^as published until 1905, when the Central City Republican 
was reestablished and bought their plant. The Muhlenberg Argus was 
launched September 20, 1906, with Leo Fentress as editor, who served in 
that capacity for a few years. In November, 1912, this weekly was changed 
to the Twice-a-Week Argus. This, the only paper now published in Central 
City, is owned and edited by C. E. Gregory. 

The Farmers and ^Miners' Advocate, published in Central City by 
James D. Wood for several years, was discontinued in 1908, and the ]\Iuhlen- 
berg Baptist, edited by Reverend F. M. Jones, also printed in Central City, 
appeared from 1906 to 1908. A paper called the Dunmor News was 
printed at Dunmor for a few months in 1888. During the year 1890 G. F. 
Swint published the South Carrollton Times, a local weekly. 

It is probable that during the first third of this century as many books 
and pamphlets will be published by IMuhlenberg writers as were produced 
during the first hundred years of the county's existence. And it is also 
probable that these publications by local writers will not only be preserved 
in the homes of a number of Muhlenbergers, but also in some of the public 
libraries throughout the country where books are not exposed to destruc- 
tion by fire or ruin through improper exposure. If the county and circuit 
clerks were required by law to file copies of the local newspapers and to 
preserve them with the same care they do the official records of the county, 
much local history and interesting literature would be preserved for the 
present as well as for future generations. 


THE year 1870 marks the beginning of the end of the prolonged 
and trying times that followed the Civil War. The political 
manifestations of 1870 are typical of the period that extended 
from about 1865 to about 1875. It was in 1870 that the first 
railroad in the county was building. Shortly afterv^ard began the long, 
costly, and troublesome wrangle on the validity of the railroad bonds. 
The building of the railroad was the beginning of the development of 
many of the county's resources. The local history of that year is summed 
up by Richard T. Martin, who in l\Iarch, 1910, published in the Greenville 
Record a sketch entitled "Forty Years Ago." This article is so full of 
interest that I quote it almost entire, as revised. It must be borne in mind 
that under the good-humor with which the author describes the exciting 
political conditions of that year there is presented a graphic view of a 
condition of public alarm that was then of very serious moment. 

"Many changes have taken place both in Greenville and Muhlenberg 
County since 1870. People have been born and have died, some have 
become rich and some poor, many have rejoiced and many have suffered, 
but the world has kept revolving in the same old way. 

"In 1870 U. S. Grant was President of the United States: Thomas C. 
McCreary and Garrett Davis were the United States Senators from Ken- 
tucky ; William N. Sweeny, of Owensboro, was our Congressman : John W. 
Stevenson was Governor of the State ; Finis M. Allison, of Greenville, was 
our State Senator; Doctor John B. Hays was the representative of our 
county. In 1868 R. T. Petree, of Hopkinsville, the Civil War judge, was 
succeeded by George C. Rogers, of Bowling Green, who died during the 
summer of 1870 and whose unexpired term was filled by R. C. Bowling, 
of Russellville. Charles K. Milliken was Commonwealth's attorney; N. J. 
Harris was the circuit court clerk. All of these have since passed into 
the Great Beyond. 

"The county officials in 1870 were S. P. Love, county judge: B. E. 
Pittman, county attorney; Thomas Bruce, county clerk; T. ^l. ^Morgan, 
sheriff; R. E. Humphrey, assessor; W. D. Shelton, jailer; James D. Craig, 
surveyor, and W. P. Hancock, coroner. These, too, have passed away, 
except T. M. Morgan, who is the only survivor of the county's official 
board of 1870. 

"The magisterial board consisted of Joseph Adcock, J. H. ]\Iorton, 
A. J. Lyon, David Roll, J. P. Hendricks, and J. Hunt, all of whom are now 
dead. The Greenville bar was composed of J. H. Reno, J. C. Thompson, 



Samuel E. Smith/ :\1. J. Roark, Mortimer D. Hay, J. W. McCall, B. E. 
Pittman, S. P. Love, Finis M. Allison, Charles Eaves, Joseph Ricketts, 
and W. H. Yost, all of whom have been called by the Supreme Judge 
except W. H. Yost, of jMadisonville, who was considerably younger than 
his early contemporaries in law, and who stands to-day as the only living 
representative of the Greenville legal fraternity of 1870. 

"On the medical board of Greenville and vicinity were Doctors W. H. 

Yost, sr., Robert C. Frazier, R. M. 
Crittenden, John W. Morehead, Alex- 
ander McCown," J. W. Church 
(dentist), T. J. Slaton, and Samuel H. 
Dempsey. Doctor T. J. Slaton is the 
only survivor. Peter H. Baker and 
David H. Myers were the druggists of 

"On the ecclesiastical board were 
R. Y. Thomas, sr., W. L. Casky, W. D. 
Morton, J. F. Austin, and John D. 
Hanner, who have since gone to their 
eternal home. 

"The principals of the mercantile 
board of Greenville were jNI. C. Hay 
& Co., J. C. Howard, M. Rowe, F. B. 
Hancock, jr., Lewis Reno, G. B. Eades 
& Co., T. J. Jones, William Irvin, 
J. H. Reno, and Julius Hesse. All 
have passed away, and the business 
houses they occupied have disap- 
peared with them, except the one 
then occupied by M. C. Hay & Co., 
which remains a monument of 1870, 
having stood successfully two confla- 

"The hotels in that year were the 
Reno House, run by Lawson R. Reno, 
and the Greenville Hotel, run liy John T. Reynolds, sr. 


^ At the election held in 1860 Samuel E. Smith was a candidate on the 
Republican ticket for Congress. The Democratic candidate was John Young 
Brown, then of Henderson and later Governor of the State. The election was 
contested, and after a wrangle extending over a period of more than a year was 
finally decided against Smith. 

- Doctor Alexander McCown, one of the seven sons of pioneer Joseph McCown, 
was born in Muhlenberg County August 24, 1819. In 1840 he began preaching 
in the Methodist Church, and in 1860, after graduating from the Kentucky School 
of Medicine, Louisville, devoted his time to medicine, preaching, and farming. 
He died near Greenville January 24, 1894. In 1856 he married Mary Webster. 
Their only child, Archibald Webster McCo-wn, is one of the most progressive 
farmers in Muhlenberg. Pioneer Joseph McCown, who settled a few miles 
east of Greenville about 1812, and pioneer Lewis McCown, who settled near 
what became South Carrollton, were brothers— sons of Alexander McCown, of 



"J. L. Roark and L. C. Chatham were the undertakers. Samuel Arnold 
and George Geibel were the millers. The tobacconists were li. N. Martin, 
J. C. Gary & Co., E. Rice, and R. T. & C. E. Martin. The saddlers were 
J. V. Ragon and John Mclntire. F. B. Hancock was the broker and 
John Landrum the tailor. S. D. 
Chatham was the livery-stable man. 
Baker and Rhoads then conducted 
the Greenville Nursery. Green B. 
Steward was the leading barber. 
C. C. Jenkins ran 'The Railroad 
Saloon. ' 

"In 1870 Frank B. Hancock 
succeeded G. B. Eades as post- 
master of Greenville. Most of the 
mail then came by way of Russell- 
ville and Owensboro. Each sent 
three mails a week to Greenville, 
and received the same number. 
Morganfield mail came and went 
only once every seven days. 

"The railroad bonds had just 
been issued, and the Elizabethtown 
& Paducah Railroad was under 
construction. In March, 1870, W. 
L. Anthony printed the first copy 
of the Kentucky Republican, ]\Iuh- 
lenberg's first newspaper. In May, 

1870, Bob Gray, a negro, was Ij^nched in Greenville for killing Mrs. 
Charles Newman, 

"New business houses, new church buildings, new law offices, new 
doctors' offices, new printing offices, and a new courthouse stand upon the 
sites of the old buildings that were used in 1870. The new houses are 
occupied by a new generation, and they, perhaps, will not be doing 
business here forty years hence. 

"On a recent county court day I walked along the streets of 
Greenville. I looked at the new Y. j\I. C. A. building and the many 
other new houses facing the courthouse. ^ I surveyed the large crowd 
that was there gathered. I saw very few who, as middle-aged men, 
mingled together upon the streets in 1870. 1 noticed the commissioner 
standing high up on the large and beautiful steps of the new court- 
house, and men standing around bidding at his sales ; but they were 
not those who stood around and ])id to the cry of the commissioner. 

The house occupied in 1870 by M. C. Hay 
& Co., Greenville, as it appears to-day 

3 The Greenville Young Men's Christian Association was organized June 26, 
1886. Charles M. Howard was the first president and Max Weir the first secretary. 
In 1900 the Muhlenberg County Y. M. C. A. was formed at Greenville, and con- 
tinued (with branches at Central City, Bremen, and Drakesboro) until 1904, or 
shortly after the death of Max Weir. On September 8, 1904, the Greenville 
Y. M. C. A. was incorporated. The local Association received $7,500 from the 
estate of Max Weir and with this erected the present building, which was 
formally opened May 17, 1910. 


]M. C. Hay, when he stood on the small stone steps in front of the old 
courthouse in 1870. 

"In 1870 there occurred one of the greatest, most alarming, and per- 
plexing political panics and epidemics that has ever been experienced in 
the history of our nation. It was known as the negro 'social equality 
panic' This plague was prevalent south of the Mason and Dixon line, 
and symptons of it y\-ere felt in some of the Northern States. The 'negro 
equality' panic began in 1865, soon after the negroes were set free. It 
gradually grew and gained strength. In 1868, when the negroes were 
made citizens and clothed Avith the same civil rights as other citizens of 
the United States, fury was added to the flame already started, and it 
spread and became more fearful and distressing. People of a certain 
temperament and disposition, living in the State of Kentucky and the 
other Southern States, began to be most seriously affected by this epidemic. 
In 1870, shortly after the negroes were made voters, it reached its climax 
and highest degree of political force and alarm and became a monstrous 
and perplexing proposition. 

' ' This panic was aggravated and agitated by speakers and office-seekers, 
who would present to the people dark forebodings of a fearful future by 
telling them that if the Republican party should be allowed to continue 
governing the country, negro equality would certainly foUow. Uninformed 
and inconsiderate people began to shudder at the thought of having to 
come to negro ec[uality. . . . 

"This state of political affairs was very acute in Muhlenberg, as else- 
where. All who were subject to the epidemic in the county and State 
flocked that year into the Democratic or 'white man's party.' until it 
was swelled to an enormous majority. In 1871 Preston 11. Leslie, Demo- 
cratic candidate for Governor, defeated John ]M. Harlan, Republican 
candidate, by a majority of over forty thousand votes. Muhlenberg County 
gave a Democratic majority of between six and seven hundred. 

"In 1870 the county election took place in jMuhlenberg on the first 
.Monday in August. There were full sets of Democratic and Repu])lican 
candidates running for the various county offices, all good men. "Negro 
equality' was the Democratic battle-cry used during the campaign. The 
general canvass commenced about the last of June. Lists were sent out 
showing where and when the various speakings ^^ould be held. The 
candidates on both sides met these appointments and addressed the 
large crowds that gathered. Most meetings were like picnics, and 
many ended in barn dances. There was plenty to eat; drink was always 
on hand. 

"Usually S. P. Love, the Democratic candidate for county judge, and 
Wiley S. Hay, the Republican candidate, would furnish the oratory and 
eloquence. W. H. Yost, then about twenty-one years old, was the Demo- 
cratic candidate for county attorney, and Clark ]\Ioore, some years older, 
was an independent candidate for the same office. They would occasionally 
take a tilt at each other. The remainder of the candidates, as a rule, 
Vv'ould simply announce themselves for certain county offices and ask the 
l^eople for support. 



"When a Democratic candidate addressed the crowd that year he 
usually began by saying: 'Ladies and gentlemen, I am a Democratic candi- 
date (which generally called for some applause). I have always been a 
Democrat. My father was a Democrat. (Applause.) I expect to live a 
Democrat and to die a Democrat and be buried in a Democratic coffin. 
(Great applause.) And if you elect me to serve you, I shall advo- 


Built in 1848, is here shown as it appeared about 1870. It stood until 1902, when the 

congregation's present building was erected on the site of the old one 

cate and jDractice Democratic principles. (Applause.) I want it dis- 
tinctly understood that I am opposed to "negro equality" in any 
• shape, form, or fashion whatever. (Great applause.) I am a candi- 
date on the "White Man's Ticket," and I do not want any negro 
votes.' (Applause.) 

"As already stated, Love and Hay did the principal speaking. Love 
had the advantage over Hay in several particulars. He could speak two 
words to Hay 's one ; he had a much louder voice, stronger lungs, and 
more wit, sarcasm, and ridicule than Hay. Having the public sentiment 
largely in his favor, he attempted to browbeat, and as the saying is 'to 
peek Hay's head,' all over the county. 


"As a general thing when Love spoke he accused Hay and 'the Radical 
party,' as he called the Republican, of being in favor of negro equality. 
He would ask: 'Do you parents want to see young black, kinkyheaded 
negroes paying their respects to your daughters and marrying them? 
Do you want to see your sons making love to negro wenches and taking 
them for wives f Do you want negro daughters-in-law and negro sons-in- 
law?' A volley of 'No's!' would sound out from the crowd, and Love 
would continue: 'If you do, then vote for the "Piebald Buck"-*; if you 
don't, then vote the Democratic ticket and you will save the country from 
negro equality, and if I am elected judge, 1 will not permit any of it in 
the county, nor will I allow any negro to testify in my court!' 

"During this canvass Love, in closing his speeches, would sometimes 
say: 'I can't get Mr. Hay to answer my questions; he evades them. 

' ' ' He wires in and he wires out. 
And he wires all round about ; 
And like the snake that made the track. 
You can't tell if he's white or black." ' 

"In response to this, Hay would turn to Love and remark: 

' "Oh, do forsake such low pursuits 
And cultivate more generous fruits ; 
Such acts will stigmatize your name. 
And bring reproach upon your fame." ' 

"One could see the animosity sparkling in the eyes of the parents, 
whose perturbed souls were deeply affected by the panic. They would 
east a look of scorn at Hay, who sat quietly and calmly by, waiting his 
turn to speak. Generally when Love concluded his speech he would step 
off and all those who were enraged would follow, leaving Hay with only 
a small crowd of those conservative and immune to the panic. 

"I remember on one occasion, after Love had finished speaking and 
the people commenced going away, a lady and two daughters, who had 
rosy cheeks and looked as sweet as angels, came running past where I 
stood, and a gentleman with whom I was talking asked the mother, 
'Cousin Sally, why don't you stay and hear Mr. Hay speak?' She 
answered, 'I do not want to hear anybody speak that wants negro equality. 
I am going up to the dance with the girls!' And off she went. 

"When Hay met his old associates and friends he would simply say 
to them, 'I am a candidate for the office of county judge, and if elected 
I will run the otiice for its fees. I shall ask no salary. I would like to 
have your support.' [It was customary for the fiscal court to allow the 
county judge five hundred dollars salary.] 

"^lany of the men who were under the influence of the panic would 
remark to him, 'j\Ir. Hay, we have known you for a long time and have 
always found you to be a perfect gentleman in all your dealings and have 
always known you' to be a good citizen, but we can not support you and 
are sorry to tell you so. We would as soon vote against a father or 

* Wiley S. Hay had a birthmark on liis clieelv. 



brother.' Some would say, 'We have always believed in the principles 
of the Republican party, but since they have made the negro a voter and 
made it a negro party, we have joined the Democratic or ''white man's 
party." We can not stand negro equality and expect to vote against it 
as long as we live.' Mr. Hay would repeatedly tell them that he was not 
for negro equality, but was as much opposed to it as any living mortal. 
Their usual reply was, 'But your party is, and you belong to the negro 
party, and a vote for you would be a vote for negro equality. We do not 
want to disgrace ourselves and our families by voting for negro equality.' 


This sort of consolation would throw a cloud of disappointment over the 
old sage, for he realized that he was the victim of political ignorance and 
prejudice and of deception carried on by persons who did not have aspira- 
tions as high as he had. 

"Wiley S. Hay was one of the best men in the county. He was a 
pioneer of Muhlenberg, born in the first years of the Nineteenth Century, 
and was about sixty-eight years old during this campaign. His history 
was untainted. He was a man of broad mind and noble sentiment, an 
example of the highest type of American manhood. He represented the 
county in the Legislature in 1845-4G and was afterward a State Senator, 
but during this panic he was made a subject of ridicule and censure on 
account of his politics. No truer man ever lived in ^Muhlenberg County, 
and none who tried to do more for the betterment of his country. He 
had the nerve and the manhood to stand up and advocate his political 
principles and sentiments before an antagonistic majority of people who 
were greatly affected with the negro equality plague, and to defend that 
which he believed to be right. 



"Hay was about six feet two inches tall. He was not an orator or 
trained speaker. He was well informed for his day; his speeches were 
logical and forcible, and when aroused he would straighten up and talk 
like a statesman. He was one of the leading Union men of the county 
during the war and a leading advisory Republican afterward. Pie was a 
slave-owner and well-to-do farmer. He rose from the vale of poverty; 
his parents were poor, his father, Kinnard Hay, having been a school- 
teacher. W. S. Hay's oldest son, M. D. Hay, was a bright young lawyer 

of distinction. He was strong in sym- 
pathy with the South, and an ardent 
advocate of Secession. He became 
the mouthpiece and speaker for the 
Secession element of the county dur- 
ing the war. After the war he was 
a leader in the Democratic party. He 
died in 1875, about forty years of 
age. ^Ir. Hay's second son, ]\I. C. 
Hay, joined the Southern army, was 
wounded at Shiloh, taken prisoner, 
and returned home at the close of the 
war. Hay's third son, David, died 
in the Southern army. Thus father 
and sons were at variance in politics. 
"This negro equality panic or 
epidemic continued to vex and worry 
some of the people for twenty years. 
Most of those who were seriously af- 
fected died. Many of those who in 

WILEY S. HAY, ABOUT 1850 +1.^ , „„ + • 4. i i 

tJie meantime grew up to manhood 
became immune to the epidemic, and the panic finally subsided. 

"While the people of Muhlenberg were laboring under the fear of 
negro equality they were also under the pressure of another ordeal — the 
panic of railroad bonded indebtedness. This panic also ran twenty years, 
parallel, for a time, with the negro equality panic. Four judges and 
magistrates, all of whom were considered astute, worried with the two 
panics, but failed to bring about any relief. It was not until after the 
lapse of twenty years that both epidemics w^ere subdued. Muhlenberg 
emerged from its former torpor and has since been traveling on the road 
of peace and prosperity, and the county is to-day worth at least threefold 
what it was during the years of the two great panics." 

The careers of all the men referred to by Mr. Martin in his sketch are 
woven into Muhlenberg's history of their time. None of these citizens 
was better known and more highly esteemed, and none was more closely 
connected with the local history of their day, than Finis McLean Allison, 
of Greenville, who in 1870 was a member of the State Senate. He was a 
grandson of pioneer Samuel Allison, Avho was among the first to settle near 
where later Friendship Church was built. A few years before the death 
of Finis ]\I. Allison the following sketch was published in "The Biograph- 
ical Encyclopedia of Kentuckians" : 



"Finis McLean Allison, lawyer, was born March 4, 1829, in Muhlen- 
berg: County, Kentucky. His father, John Adair Allison, was a native 
of the same county ; was of Scotch-Irish descent, and followed agricultural 
pursuits throughout his life. His mother's maiden name was Frances 
Watkins, and she was a native of Washington County, Kentucky. Mr, 
Allison was reared on a farm and received a common English education. 
At the age of fifteen he became 
deputy clerk in Muhlenberg county 
and circuit courts, holding the posi- 
tion until 1849. In the meantime, 
having studied law, he was ad- 
mitted to the bar in the fall of 
1850, and entered upon the prac- 
tice of his profession. In 1852 he 
went to California and engaged for 
some time in gold-mining, but in 
1854 returned and resumed the 
practice of his profession at Mor- 
gantown. In 1856 he was elected 
clerk of the county and circuit 
courts of Butler County, continuing 
in that j^osition until 1865, when he 
again resumed the practice of law. 
In 1867 he was elected to the State 
Senate from the counties of IMuh- 
lenberg and Christian, serving un- 
til 1871. In that year he was appointed by Governor Leslie as inspector 
of tobacco at Louisville, but soon afterward resumed his professional busi- 
ness at Greenville, Kentucky. In politics he is a Democrat, and has taken 
an active interest in the affairs of his party. Mr. Allison was married 
August 1, 1849, to Julia A. Burks, and has six living children. His son 
Finis H. Allison is a physician in McLean County, and his son John 
Allison is a practicing lawyer at Greenville." 

In 1874 Mr. Allison was appointed United States Commissioner for 
the District of Kentucky, and in 1882 was elected police judge of Greenville, 
which office he held until his death, April 12, 1886. The Muhlenberg Echo, 
published during the w^eek of his death, after giving him his just praise as 
a citizen, lawyer, and judge, says: "Judge Allison's place in Greenville 
and the county will be hard to fill. His humble grave may never be marked 
by a lofty and costly monument, but his riiemory will live green and fresh 
in the hearts of this people long after many of us now living will have been 
forgotten. "5 

The lynching of the negro, referred to by j\Ir. ]\Iartin, was an act for 
which the county's entire population was censured, although not more than 
one hundred men took part in the affair. Those who attempt to give the 


^ Finis McLean Allison was the father of Mrs. Lucy (Joseph) Frazer, Mrs. 
Alice (Joseph) Stokes, Mrs. Naomi (Eugene) Lovell, Finis H., John, and James 



Large logs were plentiful in 1870 and even as late 
as 1894, when this picture was made 
near Paradise 

details of this hanging usually wander far from the facts and invariably 
exaggerate the conduct of the lynching party. A clipping from a local 
newspaper, printed at the time, giving an account of this gruesome tragedy, 
has been preserved by Walter W. Langiey. This I quote in full, in order 
to check the distorted tales now extant by giving the actual facts in the 
case. The Kentucky Republican of ^lay 18, 1870, says: 

It becomes our painful 
duty as a public journalist to 
give to the readers of the Re- 
publican, this morning, the 
particulars of a most horrible 
tragedy enacted in ]\Iuhlen- 
berg County. A most dia- 
bolical outrage and murder 
has been committed, the de- 
tails of which will l^lanch the 
cheek and sicken the heart of 
every reader. Our l)lood 
curdles at the recital of the 
fiendish atrocity developed by 
the investigation. We shall 
endeavor to record the facts 
as we have gathered them 
from various sources, without 
coloring, and shall feel it our bounden duty as an humble exponent and 
defender of the principles of morality, law and good order, to deprecate 
and severely censure such riotous and violent proceedings as occurred on 
our streets last Saturday. These are the facts: 

On AVednesday last, ^lay 11th, Mrs. Elizabeth Newman, wife of Mr, 
Charles Newman, living about four miles south of Greenville, left her 
home, on foot in the morning, accompanied by her little boy aged four 
years, to spend the day with the family of j\Ir. John Gray, jr., but not 
finding them at home, she started to go toward the house of ]Mr. A. Newman, 
and here we lose trace of her. This was between seven and nine o'clock 
on Wednesday morning. At night, the husband and father, coming liome 
from a log-rolling in the neighborhood, is surprised to find that his wife 
has not yet returned, and hastens to inquire after her of the neighbors, 
but fails to discover her whereabouts ; and, thinking she must be safe at 
some one of her relatives ' houses, he seeks his own couch for the night. The 
next morning the dead body of a woman, identified as that of ^Irs. Newman, 
together with the child of ]Mrs. Newman, terribly mutilated, but still alive, 
are found in a little skirt of woods between Mr. A. Newman's and ^Ir. 
John Gray's. A coroner was summoned and an inquest held over the 
dead body, eliciting the following facts : 

That ]Mrs. Elizabeth Newman came to her death from murderous l)lows, 
inflicted upon the head with rocks and sticks, and from a pistol-shot wound 
in the neck. In the opinion of several pliysicians, either wound would 
have caused instant death. ^Murderer unknown. Her skull was crushed 
in two places. The child was found aliout ten feet from the mother, with 
its skull broken and face much disfigured. It was still alive but in a stupor. 
The woman was lying upon her face, her hair disheveled and matted 
with blood. The ground for seventy yards around bore marks of a desperate 


struggle. Drs. Yost, Crittenden and Frazier found unmistakable proof 
of violence to the person of the woman. At one place her breastpin was 
found, and the ground indicated a scuffle. At some distance farther on 
her sunbonnet and knitting work were found, and the disturbed condition 
of the dead leaves and ground, which bore evidence of a violent struggle, 
indicated that here the damning deed was committed. Here her cries for 
help were stopped by the hellish demon with a handful of leaves, frag- 
ments of which were on the spot. His fiendish purpose having been accom- 
plished, the woman seems to have succeeded in escaping from the scoundrel 
and run on to about seventy yards from the point at which the first signs 
of a scuffle were seen. Here her body was found in the condition we have 
described. About a pint of seed corn was found scattered about upon 
the ground at the place where the vv'oman seems to have been down the 
second time. The meeting, by Dr. A. JMcCown, and the suspicious conduct 
of a negro boy, Bob, living at John Gray's, in the woods, not a hundred 
yards from the scene of the outrage and murder at about the time ^Nlrs. 
Newman must have passed that way, together with the fact that he was 
set to planting corn that morning in the field near John Gray's house, 
in full view of the road that ]\Irs. Newman took in going to and from the 
house, and the fact that the boy had no business in the wood at that time 
in the morning, seemed to point to him (the negro boy, Bob) as the author 
of the horrible murder, and on the evening of the same day he was arrested 
and placed in the county jail. 

Great indignation was felt by the friends and relatives of the mur- 
dered woman, who was a daughter of Mr. Josiah Reid, living in this county, 
an estimable lady, a loving wife and fond mother. She was not yet thirty 
years of age; had been married to ^Ir. Newman about five years, and had 
but one child living, a bright, promising boy, who, as we have seen, escaped 
so narrowly with his life. jMucIi excitement prevailed in the neighliorhood 
of the murder, and a large number of persons visited the scene of the 
terrible tragedy. Strong additional proofs, fixing the negro boy's guilt 
beyond a doubt, having been found on Thursday, intimations were rife 
that a number of citizens of the county, together with the friends of the 
deceased, contemplated taking the prisoner by night from the custody of 
the jailer, and executing summary vengeance upon him. But an unwilling- 
ness to punish a prisoner in the hands of the law, until found guilty by 
an impartial trial, dictated moderation and the jail was not molested. 

Saturday morning, IVIay 14th, the time set for the investigating trial, 
the streets of our town were alive with an eager but quiet crowd of citizens 
of the county. Just before the hour of the trial, ^Ir. Josiah Reid spoke 
to the people from the courthouse steps, exhorting and cautioning them to 
use no violence upon the prisoner, as he was being brought from the jail 
to the court room; that he was interested far more than they were in the 
matter, as the murdered woman was his daughter, and if he could keep 
his hands off the prisoner, they certainly ought to. The court room was 
jammed to its fullest capacity, and the prisoner was brought before the 
court. Justices Adcock and Roll presiding. The prisoner, Bob Gray, had 
formerly belonged to ]Mr. John Gray, and was still living with his old 
master. He was about five feet five inches in height, of a dark copper color, 
and of strong muscular power. When asked in court if he had anything 
to say for himself, he stated that he was not guilty. Dr. Crittenden and 
jNIr. Samuel E. Smith were sworn, and made in substance the following 
statement : They l)oth visited the jail, in company, on the morning of 
the trial, and had a conversation with the prisoner, for the purpose of 


eliciting any confession he might choose to make. They stated that he 
at first denied the wliole thing; then confessed that he killed the woman, 
but denied the rape, and stated that he attempted to take the life of the 
child and then murdered the mother ; and then that he killed the mother 
and afterwards left the child for dead, so that it would not tell who did it. 
He equivocated and contradicted himself in every instance. When asked 
why he connnitted the murder, lie said he had always wanted to kill some 
white woman. 

Sufficient proof of the guilt of the prisoner having been adduced, by 
the investigation, to send him on for further trial, he was remanded back 
to jail. But before delivering him over to the jailer, the county attorney, 
B. E. Pittman, Esq., Judge Ricketts, and lion. Samuel E. Smith addressed 
the crowd, in earnest language, in behalf of law and order, cautioning and 
entreating them to do nothing violent, but exhorting all to retire to their 
homes and leave the prisoner in the hands of the lavr ; telling them that 
there was sufficient proof of his guilt to send him back to jail, and if con- 
victed he would suffer the extreme penalty of the law. The muttering 
sLorm of a people's indignation at the enormity of the crime had been 
brewing all the morning, and rumors were afloat that five hundred de- 
termined men of the county, satisfied of the guilt of the prisoner, would 
never suffer him to go back to jail, but intended to take the law into their 
own hands and lynch the prisoner. Mr. Reid again made a noble appeal 
to the crowd, in which he said: "It was my daughter that was murdered. 
It is I that am interested more than any of yo\i in this matter; and if I 
can bear it, surely you should. Harm him not. The law will deal with 
him as he deserves." 

As the jailer and guard conducted the prisoner from the court room, 
the cry of "Hang him!" was heard on all sides, and as the prisoner, in 
charge of the officers of the law, issued from the courthouse, they were 
met by a crowd of from fifty to one liundred men, with pistols in hand, 
who demanded and dragged the prisoner from the officers afid guard. The 
scene that followed beggars description. All was excitement and turmoil. 
It seemed to be the intention of the parties to hang the negro in the court- 
house yard, and it is probably due to the earnestness and bold speaking 
of Judge Love, who mounted the fence and succeeded in arresting the 
attention of the leaders for a moment, that they desisted from this course. 
They, however, dragged him to the woods, distant half a mile from the 
courthouse, and there hanged him by the neck until lie was dead. 

After the body of the negro had hung suspended by a rope to the limb 
of a tree for an hour or more it was taken down, the head severed from 
the trunk, and the former, all gory and mangled, stuck on the end of a 
long pole, brought back to town and placed conspicuously in the courthouse 
yard, from whence it was removed soon after by Justice Adcock, placed 
with the body and decently buried. 

Thus is mob-law satisfied. Thus is the death by violence of a noble, 
Christian woman avenged in the seditious, barbarous and disgraceful scenes 
we have hastily described. Thus has Muhlenberg County shown to the 
world her red-handed chivalry, in heroically cutting off the head of a dead 
negro, hanged by mob violence, and parading the bloody trophy before her 
halls of justice! Even if we sought to palliate (which we do not) the 
action of' the mob in lynching the prisoner while in the hands of the law, 
this last flagrant offense against decency, civilization and Christianity 
merits denunciation in thunder tones by an indignant and outraged com- 
munitv. We blush to record the shame that now stains the hitherto fair 



fame of our county, but our imperative duty as a truthful journalist com- 
pels us to make the unwilling sacrifice. ^ 

The year 1870 may be regarded as the beginning of banking in Muhlen- 
berg. Shortly after the close of the Civil War most of the cheeks and drafts 
cashed in the county were handled in Greenville by F. B. Hancock, who 
about the year 1870 established "The Banking House of F. B. Hancock." 
Hancock conducted his banking business in connection with his other busi- 

Built about 1850 and modernized in 1907 by Andrew W. Duncan, wlio now occupies it 

ness until 1879. In the beginning he simply cashed checks. About 1870 
he began to issue drafts, cash notes, and borrow and lend money and trans- 
act such other business as is done in a bank. 

In the early days pioneer James Weir cashed practically all the drafts 
received by people in the county. la his Greenville store he kept a wooden 
chest heavily cleated with nails which, up to about 1840, served the pur 
pose of a safe and vault. After his day his son Edward R. Weir, sr., and 
other leading merchants incidentally cashed checks for their customers. 
From 1865 to 1879, as already stated, F. B. Hancock made it a business 
to look after such matters. Hancock was succeeded by M. C. Hay. who 

6 Two men have been hanged by mobs in the county. The second was Dudley 
White, a negro, accused of killing Jonathan Gossett. He was taken from the jail 
on January 9, 1874, and hanged to a tree about three hundred yards east of the 



acted as financial agent for a few years. In 1882 ]M. C. Hay and Lewis 
Reno organized a bank in the "Old Brick Bank Building," which had 
been built in 1819 on the northwest corner of the courthouse square. This 
bank, started in 1882, was the first bank established in the county. In 
1890 it became the First National Bank of Greenville, which is the oldest 
of the eight banks now in Muhlenberg. 

More than sixty years before this, on February 9, 1819, the State 
Legislature, in an "Act authorizing the County Court of Muhlenberg to 

Erected in 1910 

dispose of part of their public ground," enabled the court, in accordance 
therewith, to sell the northwest corner of the courthouse lot to the "Bank 
of Greenville" for the purpose of erecting a bank building on it. Sub- 
scriptions for the sale of stock were "under the direction of James Weir, 
Alney McLean, William Campbell, sr., Charles F. Wing, Robert McLean 
and John S. Eaves." They erected a two-story brick house in 1819. Al- 
though their brick bank building was "condemned" immediately after it 
was finished, time showed that it was an exceptionally well-made house, for 
it was not torn down until seventy-five years later, and then only to make 
room for the more modern structure which now occupies that corner. In 
1818 about fifty independent banks were incorporated throughout the 
State, among them the "Bank of Greenville." However, in 1820 — shortly 
after the brick bank building was finished — the charters of these inde- 
pendent banks were repealed, and the organizers of the "Bank of Green- 




Built in 1855 and a few years later sold to John 

Mclntire; now the home of Doctors Louella 

and Emily Heltsley 

ville" made no furtlier attempt to establish a bank, but rented the various 
rooms in their bank buikling for office purposes. 

Among those who in 1870 had an office in this old brick house was 
Doctor J. W. Church. In 1894 the famous "Old Brick Bank Building" was 
torn down and the building now standing on that corner was erected by the 
First National Bank of Greenville, by which corporation it was occupied 
until 1907, when the bank sold 
the house to the Greenville 
Coal Company and moved into 
the larger quarters across the 

The building now occupied 
by the First National Bank 
stands on a corner which in 
1870 was occupied by an old 
frame and log house that was 
torn down in the early seven- 
ties. It is said the old land- 
mark that stood on that 
corner was removed by a 
wealthy widower, who erected 
in its place the present three- 
story (recently stuccoed) brick building — the second three-story l)rick 
house built in the county. When the widower began this new building — 
so runs the story, which although frequently told may nevertheless not be 
strictly true — he also began paying his attentions to a handsome young 
widow, Avho like himself then lived in the county. After he had finished 
the basement he proposed to his ladylove, but was coldly refused by her. 
He erected the first story, and in the meantime pressed his courtship. 
After the first story was finished he again proposed and was again re- 
fused, but not quite so emphatically as before. He then erected the 
second story, and carried on his courtship with more persistency. After 
the completion of the second story he again proposed and was once 
more refused, but this time with an liesitation that gave him hope. The 
widower then made up his mind to keep on building story after story 
until accepted by the wddoAv. He added the third story, wdiich made 
what was then considered a very tali and imposing building. After 
drawing his plans for the fourth story he again proposed to the widow^ 
She now feared that if she continued to decline, the building w^ould 
become too tall and unsafe, and she therefore accepted his offer. While 
the carpenters were finishing the roof the marriage ceremony took place, 
and the newdy married couple lived happily ever after. Both have since 
died, but the story of their romantic courtship is still told, and will in 
all probability often be retold as one of the most interesting incidents 
connected with the houses built about the vear 1870. 


FOR nearly forty years — to be exact, from 1868 to 1906 — ]Muhlenberg 
staggered under a financial and political burden that greatly de- 
preciated values, delayed industrial development, and harassed 
officials and taxpayers with most distressing legal uncertainties. 
The trouble arose out of the issuance by the county of $400,000 of 7 per 
cent twenty-year bonds in return for an equal amount of stock in the then 
projected Elizabethtown & Paducah Railroad, which was to be constructed 
through the counties intervening between Hardin and McCracken. Few" 
questions of local importance have been more completely forgotten in detail 
than this of the railroad bonds, although it weighed more heavily on the 
generation that had to deal with it than perhaps any other episode in the 
county's history. 

Muhlenberg was not alone in this matter. Other counties suffered in 
greater or less degree, but none suffered more severely than IMuhlenberg ; 
few suffered as much. It was the era of railroad building in Kentucky and 
in the entire West. The "flush days" after the war, that were hurrying 
on to the "blow-up" in the great panic of 1873, were in full swing in 
1868-69. Counties all over the State were being persuaded to lend their 
credit by exchanging bonds for stock in order to help on these various rail- 
way projects. ]Many miles of what now are parts of the Louisville & 
Nashville Railroad system were financed in this way.^ 

The proposition to Muhlenberg asking for .$400,000 of bond subscrip- 
tion was first advanced in 1867. That a railroad would be of great ad- 
vantage to the county was not to be denied. Opponents of the measure 
were not wanting, but the railroad promoters made a vigorous house-to- 
house canvass and a county campaign. The question was formally sub- 
mitted to the voters of the county at an election held May 30, 1868, re- 
sulting in 771 votes for the issue and 550 against it. There were times 
when memories of that campaign were often bitter, but with the passage of 
years even those who had suffered most began to see the humor of it. This 
situation is best described by Richard T. jMartin, who was a close observer 
of the campaign for the bonds and who, writing of it forty-two years later, 
thus tells what went on in the public eye and mind in 1868 : ^ 

^ The county was in nowise involved in the construction of any of the rail- 
roads that were built in Muhlenberg except the Elizabethtown & Paducah. This 
road has changed hands a number of times. For a while it was known as the 
Chesapeake, Ohio & Southwestern, and later as the Newport News & Mississippi 
Valley. Since 1897 it has been known as the Illinois Central. 

2 "Trying Times in Muhlenberg"; Muhlenberg Sentinel, September 23, 1910. 



"One S. B. Thomas, of Elizabethtovvn, president of the railroad com- 
pany, first presented such a proposition to the citizens of ^Muhlenberg 
County. He had an appointment to speak at Greenville about the necessity 
of the railroad, and an unusual crowd assembled there to hear him. 
Thomas was an orator of some distinction and ability. He made the 
promotion of the railroad his business. His speech was eloquent and 
persuasive. He was apparently very much interested in the welfare of 
Muhlenberg. He pictured a great future for the people of the county. 
Pie pointed to the advantages, facilities, and comfort that would be realized 


and enjoyed by the citizens from having a railroad running through the 
county, and showed that it would give strength and tone to all local in- 
dustries and put the people on the way to success and wealth. According 
to Thomas' description and presentation of the scene, the hills and hollows 
of Muhlenberg County would be crowded with gilded homes of glittering 
wealth soon after the construction of the railroad. 

"The thoughts and aspirations of his hearers were caught up and 
wafted on the wings of his magic eloquence to the highest realm of hope. 
The people gave Thomas their close and undivided attention, taking in his 
fast-flowing logic and eloquence as a sweet morsel. 

"At that time all the products and goods were shipped and received 
by the way of Green River, and hauled to and from the various landings on 
the river to the different points in the county in wagons, which was a very 
slow, burdensome, inconvenient and undesirable system. Business men 
were eager for a better way. Thomas told them that if ^luhlenberg would 
vote the bond issue they would get a paying road through the county, 
which would be made to run within a mile of the courthouse : that the road, 
when built, would enhance the value of the property of the county more 
than double the cost of the subscription. He explained that the stock 



taken would soon double in value, and that the receipts for the interest 
paid on the coupons of the bonds would be as certificates of the stock taken 
and could be sold above par after the railroad was completed. It would be 
a paying investment for the present generation, their children, and their 
children's posterity. He emphasized that the building of the road de- 
pended upon the people of the various counties along the line, and declared 
that all the other counties through which the road would run were to vote 
to take stock and issue bonds to cover the amount of stock taken. He also 

On Louisville & Nashville Railroad 

promised that when the bonds were issued, the people would only have to 
pa.y the interest and lay up a sinking fund to liquidate the bonds when due ; 
and that the whole amount could soon be paid off with the proceeds of 
poultry, potatoes, butter, eggs and blackberries. 

' ' When Thomas mentioned blackberries, it did the people good, for they 
believed that they were solid on blackberries. It was then only a few years 
after the war. During the war the people did not know but what they 
would be killed, and were therefore careless about keeping up their farms. 
In all the fence corners and along the branches there had grown up an 
abundance of blackberry briars. Nearly every farmer had a large black- 
berry orchard, and was therefore confident that he could furnish a good 
many blackberries. So the outlook was very encouraging along that line. 
At that time there was also an abundance of greenbacks in circulation, and 
everyl)ody had a pocketful of 'shin-plasters,' as they were called. Tobacc